Skip to main content

Full text of "The Achehnese"

See other formats

'.Ofr ^M^^ 






4/ BY 


Adviser for Native Affairs, Netherlands India, 



the late A. W. S. O'SULLIVAN 

Assistant Colonial Secretary , Straits Settlements, 




Inspector of Schools, Federated Malay States, 

VOL. I. 

Late E. J. BRILL 
LEYDEN, 1906. 

V. y, 

x'. . 

E. J Urill, iiublishcm and iirinters, Leyden. 


In July, 1891, I proceeded to Acheh in pursuance of instructions 
from the Netherlands-India Government to make a special study of the 
religious element in the political conditions of that country. During a 
residence in Arabia (1884 — 85) I had been in a position — especially 
at Mecca — to obtain an intimate knowledge of the influence of 
Mohammedan fanaticism upon the obstinate resistance of the Achehnese 
to Dutch rule ; some time spent in direct relations with Achehnese on 
their own soil was required to round off the knowledge gained by me 
from literature and from my experience in the sacred city of the Arabs. 

In Acheh I soon saw that the available data regarding the language, 
country and people fell far short of what was wanted, so I extended 
my enquiry beyonds the limits of my commission. In order to get at 
the very foundations of a knowledge of the influence of Islam upon the 
political, social and domestic life of the Achehnese, I took (so far as 
local conditions allowed me) that life in its entire range as the subject 
of my research. In February, 1892, I had got together enough pre- 
liminary matter for compiling a book; I worked up my materials at 
Batavia; and so, in 1893 — 94, first appeared the treatise which is now 
being again oftered to the public in the form of an English translation. 

When Mr. O'Sullivan, early in 1899, informed me of his project 
of translating the book and requested me to look through his version 
and give him the benefit of any amendments in the text which might 
seem to be needed, it was just the very time that the real conquest 
of Acheh was being commenced ; and I — spending a great deal of 
my time in that country — was in an incomparably better position 
to investigate that old pirate-state than I had been in 1891 and 1892. 
Certainly had I begun to write my book in 1899, it would have differed 
in many respects from its actual form. Still, as the book was definitely 


out, there was no jiistilicatioii for rc-\vriting it and there were some 
serious reasons for not doing so. The Second Volume had dealt with 
the religious life of the people ; the more abundant data which were 
afterwards forthcoming had only confirmed in all particulars the account 
that I had given. Besides, in the First Volume, there was only the 
fn-st chapter which would be less useful than one written in 1899, since 
that latter could so deal with the general political situation as to lay 
more clearly before the reader the alteration in the state of affairs since 
1 89 1. Much of what had then been important, had come to lose its 
practical significance, — new factors and persons had brought their 
influences to bear. Any one writing a new introductory chapter with 
his eye on the altered situation would have broken, more or less, the 
thread of connection which ran through the component portions of my 
work. Moreover the state of affairs in 1891 — 92 long remained un- 
changed, while in 1899 the march of events was so rapid that the 
situation might almost be said to be changing from day to day. Last 
of all, the undertaking might have been seriously delayed owing to the 
fact that the translator and the author were separated — one in the 
Straits Settlements, the other in Netherlands India — and that both, 
wrapped up in official duties, would already find it as much as they 
could do to get through their self-appointed task, especially as the 
English edition would have to be printed in ICurope. 

All these considerations led up to the decision that the text should 
be left substantially unaltered, and that only occasionally would some 
improvements and fuller explanations be included in it, that isolated 
additions to the text regarding individuals mentioned in it, should be 
put in brackets after the names referred to, and, linalh-, that in an 
introductory article as much should be said regarding the course of 
recent events in Acheh as would suffice to give the reader some idea 
of their significance. This last seemed specially needful in an edition 
destined for readers outside Holland as well as in it, since foreigners 
had constructed for themselves a legend of the Acheh War which, 
though completely refuted by Dutch writings, continues still, outside 
Holland, to be accepted as history. Speaking generally, the most absurd 
errors arc accepted in Europe for the truth regarding events that 
concern the minor states; even in Germany, the land of learning, 
savants take each other more seriously to task over an error in an 
edition of a Pushtu text or in an essay on the ethnography of Corea 


than over a tissue of injustices to their neighbours and kin in the 

Holland — so runs the European legend — has been engaged in 
war against Acheh for a period which has extended to about thirty 
years without having led to the subjugation of that native kingdom. 
Shaking their heads solemnly over it, many learned people outside the 
frontiers of Holland see in this worthy fable — to which naturally they 
do not devote any long investigation — a definite indication of Hol- 
land's inability to govern her colonies, whether this be due to faulty 
policy or to ignorance or to faithlessness on the part of those to whom 
the task of the subjugation of Acheh has been confided. 

Now there is certainly no nation more disposed to learn from 
foreigners than the Dutch; and no Dutchman will deny that in the 
conduct of Achehnese affairs it is often hard to see how the admini- 
stration can be considered to have been either adequate or suitable for 
what was needed. But the obstacles in the path of conquest were very, 
very great ; with far more wisdom and power than little Holland pos- 
sesses, the difiiculties would have taken a long spell of time to overcome. 
And Holland has spent no thirty years in the effort; her error rather 
has been that she has continually suspended the action she has begun 
and that she has indulged in long periods of quiescence, — while the 
most serious trouble of all has lain in the fact that the strings of policy 
were pulled by ignorant majorities in the Mother-country, who did not 
discover the best path from the outset but learnt through a period of 
disaster and discredit the course that they should pursue. Is Holland 
the only colony-governing country that has now and then had cause to 
sufter from twinges of that complaint, or that has failed to immediately 
lay hands on the man appointed by destiny to put through an arduous 
enterprise ? 

Acheh was to be brought into the comity of civilized states or at 
least to be rendered innoxious to it. From Mohammedanism (which for 
centuries she is reputed to have accepted) she really only learnt a large 
number of dogmas relating to hatred of the infidel without any of their 
mitigating concomitants; so that the Achehnese made a regular business 
of piracy and man-hunting at the expense of the neighbouring non- 
Mohammedan countries and islands, and considered that they were 
justified in any act of treachery or violence to European (and latterly 
to American) traders who came in search of pepper, the staple product 


of the country. Complaints of robbery and murder on board ships 
trading in Achehnese parts thus grew to be chronic. Of central authority 
there had never been any for .some centuries back ; and the country 
was practically split up into countless miniature states under chiefs 
whose power depended on personal energy and who were generally in 
a state of warfare with their neighbours unless in peace and alliance 
with them for the joint perpetration of their national offences. The 
foreigner, who had dealings with the Achehnese, as soon as he found 
himself in difficulties, sought vainly for some authority that might 
redress his wrongs. Such indeed has been the situation since the seven- 
teenth Century when the Sultanate of Acheh lost its control over the 
great chiefs of the State and over their dependents ; but even when 
the power of the Achehnese princes was at its height the foreigner 
could find no security for life or property in the country. 

The arrangements which the British ICast India Company made with 
Acheh at the close of the XVIIIi'' and the beginning of the XL\tli 
Century for the establishment of friendly relations, were overridden in 
the most insulting way; we can satisfy ourselves upon this point by 
referring to a recent essay upon the treaty made with Acheh') by 
Raffles in 1819, in which long extracts have been quoted from the 
archives of the India Office ^). 

In 1786 Warren Hastings received from the then Sultan of Acheh 
a discourteous letter in reply to an expression of goodwill. In that same 
year, Captain FRANCIS Light pointed out to the Governor-General of 
Bengal that a settlement at I'ulau Pinang possessed greater advantages 
than one on the Achehnese coast: "Achcen is a good road but no place 
of security against an enemy there. The country is fertile beyond 
description and very populous. The inhabitants rigid and superstitious 
Mohaiiiiiicdans, sullen, fickle and treacherous. To form a settlement there 
of safety and advantage, a force sitfficient to subdue all the chiefs would 
be necessary". In the same spirit wrote jAMES PRICE to the cliairman 

1) Or rather with "Johor Allum as king of Acheen", concerning whom the Chairman of 
the Company wrote to Bengal on the 4''' August 1824: "■that chief., so far as we can collect 
from your correspondence.^ not having possessed an eslahlished authority in the country which 
he assumed to represent.^ has never been in a situation to maintain the relations into which 
he entered". 

2) Essay of P. II. van der Kemp in Bijdragen van hct Koninhlijk lustituut voor de 
Taal-., Land- en Volkenkunde van Nederlandsch Indie., vol. LI, pp. 159 — 240 (the Hague, 
1900). In the English documents qnoted there are many writer's or printer's errors. 


of the Company in London : "I prefer Penang to the Port of Acheen 
as being more healthy and entirely free from that oppression, luar and 
confusion ivhicli have ever ') distressed and at length driven out every 
European nation who has attempted to settle there'\ And in 1825 Governor 
R. F-ULLERTON wrote : "With respect to the future establishment of 
European influence over Acheen, it may be observed that such an 
arrangement on our part was long considered a desirable object, but 
it has ■ been found utterly impracticable zuithout employing a large 
military force to overawe the inhabitants". 

As the one power which was settled in Sumatra and had brought 
the other territories in the island under its suzerainty or control, 
Holland, during the second decennial period of the XlX'h Century, was 
compelled to take measures to ensure the safety of foreign trade in 
Acheh. In 1824, the Dutch Government, with great lack of foresight, 
entered into a treaty with Great Britain, under which it guaranteed the 
security of trade and shipping in Acheh — with its fanatical and 
treacherous population, turbulent and warlike to a degree unknown 
among the other races of the Archipelago, as well as hopelessly divided 
against itself, ■ — and made the further stipulation (which rendered its 
undertaking impossible to carry out) that it would respect the inde- 
pendence of the country. 

No wonder then that in the following half-century the complaints of 
wrongs of every sort suffered at the hands of the Achehnese by Euro- 
pean and American traders became more and more plentiful, and that 
these ultimately led up in 187 1 to a new treaty with England, under 
which Holland was left with more freedom of action in the control of 

The British experience of 1786 — that to effect the security of trade 
and shipping in Acheh it would be absolutely necessary "to subdue 
all the chiefs" and "to overawe the inhabitants" • — was now, after a 
long struggle, to be acquired by the Dutch as well. People flattered 
themselves quite seriously with the hope that a treaty with the Sultan 
of Acheh — forced out of him, if need be, by menaces and by the 
despatch of a small force, — would succeed in doing all that was 
wanted ; they did not trouble their minds in the least degree with the 
internal condition of the country. Even after the war had actually begun 

l) Obviously this is the correct reading, and not "however". 


in 1873 they continued to entertain the vain hope that a treaty of this 
sort might be the basis of a solution of our Achchncse difficulties. 
After the abolition of the royal authority and the death of the last 
Sultan, the Netherlands India Government came forward as his suc- 
cessor and claimed the allegiance of the chiefs of the dependent king- 
doms. Many chiefs of Achehnese coast-dependencies formally gave in 
their submission in order to protect their commerce from injury, but 
the number who withheld their allegiance was greater; and many chiefs 
in the interior did not consider themselves bound by the promises of 
the raja of the coast. Furthermore the state of war — as may be learnt 
from our first chapter — added to the many chiefs who already dis- 
puted authority in Acheh a countless number of others: adventurers, 
religious leaders, military chiefs of every type. For years the Dutch 
authorities remained under the illusion that by taking up certain strong 
positions (one having the former .Sultan's residence as its centre and 
others being important harbours in the dependencies) the rest of the 
country could be forced to submit, and that by the submission of 
certain of the principal Chiefs the other headmen and the rest of the 
people would be brought under Dutch authority. 

At last under the governorship of (ieneral van der Ileyden (1877 — 
1 881) they learnt by experience that while a defensive policy in no 
way advanced Dutch dominion, a vigorous offensive would make the 
enemy come to his .senses. All Great-Acheh was conquered in this way. 
The coast-dependencies which, in parts, were densely populated and 
supplied the lurviis rcniiii, mone\', to the war-party, were of greater 
real importance than the mother-state from which the colonies of 
pepperplanters had spread out. This fact the politicians forgot when in 
1881 they thought that now that the war seemed virtually at an end 
they could fall back upon a more defensive attitude and introduce a 
purely civil government. The years 1881 to 1884 were necessary to 
enable them to see that the establishment of widely extended military 
posts in Great-Acheh and the introduction of a .settled administration 
could never lead to the breaking down of the opposition in the depen- 
dencies; and that, on the contrary, so long as one did not oneself take 
the offensive against the Coast-states, the military posts in Great-Acheh 
would be the target of continual attacks by the Achehnese. The 
Government and the House of Representatives in the Netherlands came 
to the decision — alas, an erroneous decision, — that the expenditure 


on Great-Acheh must be curtailed, that the resistance in the Coast-states 
must be overcome by naval coercion alone, and finally that develop- 
ments must be awaited and that time would reconcile the Achehnese 
to their Over-lords. In 1884 this "concentration-scheme" was taken up 
and a beginning was made by the construction of a "concentrated line" 
of forts stretching about the old seat of the Sultanate. A widespread 
opinion exists that the statesman who inaugurated this so-called scheme, 
besides being entirely unversed in Achehnese affairs, was cynical and 
sceptical and only sought for some temporary way of shelving the 
burden of the Achehnese question, and that Parliament followed him. 
I am not in a position to controvert this belief. Certainly no one ever 
rendered a greater service to the War-party in Achch than the inventor 
of "concentration". The Achehnese were free, at whatever time and in 
whatever way suited them best and without heavy expenditure or loss, 
to harrass the line and the coast-stations, as often as they pleased; the 
troops within the line were as little able to prevent them as they were 
to punish them when the thing was done. In the presence of a quite 
harmless enemy within the country, the religious party and the ener- 
getic adventurers had a most desirable opportunity of establishing war- 
chests and, with them, imperia in iinperio. There was no reason what- 
ever why this most enjoyable state of affairs — for the Achehnese — 
should ever come to an end. Moreover all Acheh and its dependencies, 
including the headmen in nominal subjection to the Dutch Government, 
remained under the influence of the Government's foes; and these latter 
everywhere derived more profit than injury from the presence of the 
Dutch forts in the country. 

Coercive measures dealing with Achehnese trade and shipping failed 
to be effective not only because they were not pushed on with suffi- 
cient energy, but still more because it is always possible for an Acheh- 
nese to supply himself with his own limited requirements even without 
the aid of foreign trade, so long as he is left (as the "concentration 
scheme" left him) in undisturbed possession of the whole land. 

No wonder then that no one with any knowledge of local conditions 
expected any good from this "scheme". A child could grasp that it 
offered either too much or too little. If one hoped to effect the sub- 
jugation of Acheh, it offered little help, — in fact none at all; if one 
only desired so much conquest as would permit of the Dutch flag flying 
over the village of the old Sultans, then the tenure of a verv small 


area would have sufficed, and one might have been spared the trouble 
and expense incurred in the holding of the "line" which necessitated 
a considerable military force to do a work of the Danaides under the 
continuous harassing of the Achchnese. 

From the commencement too, every one whose duty it was to 
supervise the working of this "scheme" found it necessary to do either 
more or less than it implied; the Governors of Acheh themselves ex- 
pressed such opinions sometimes by action sometimes by recommen- 
dation. We need not trouble the reader with the dozens of different 
schemes proposed by officials or unofficial. It may however be borne 
in mind that firstly the trial of a purely civil government (based on 
the theory that Acheh had been sufficiently subdued), and afterwards 
the "concentration" (really intended to save statesmen at home from 
troubling their heads about these questions, but nominally based upon 
the theory that Acheh would ultimately submit of its own accord) take 
out fifteen years from the tale of the legendary thirty first referred to 
by us. 

The last three years of the "concentration" time have earned an 
unhappy notoriety under the name of the "Uma"-period. This adven- 
turer, whose character is depicted in our first volume, came from the 
Meulaboh country ; he was a typical Achehnese in his complete untrust- 
worthiness and in his slavery to opium and gambling, but he differed 
from most Achehnese headmen in his energy and consummate tact in 
his relations with all sorts and conditions of men. As he had acquired 
a commanding influence over the West coast and in one of the three 
sari's of great Acheh by cunning anil intrigue and by violence of all 
sorts — and the "concentration" theory debarred any idea of depriving 
him of his ill-gotten authority — he was a troublesome enemy to the 
Dutch Government and he could become by prudent policy on the part 
of those in authority, a useful ally of that Government. It is true that 
he had many crimes standing to his debit and had more than once 
been guilty of double-dealing — but these are offences which can be 
laid to the charge of all "friendly" Achchnese chiefs, and although in 
Uma's case the proportions in both respects were greater than in the 
case of other treacherous allies, this was only due to the fact that the 
others were less subtle and energetic than he. 

Thus in 1893 when Uma, intending to advance his own interests had 
repeatedly asked for the forgiveness of his past ofTences, the acceptance 


of his submission could not be censured from the point of view of the 
concentration scheme. With a prudent endeavour to reconcile Uma's 
private interests with those of peace and order throughout the terri- 
tories he ruled, there would have been much to gain and nothing to 
lose. For even if the fickle chief once more had changed his mind, one 
would still have been as far advanced as before and would have had 
some chance of increasing one's knowledge of the proper course to 
pursue in matters concerning the condition of the districts under his 
influence. But inexcusable it was that a Governor absolutely unacquainted 
with native affairs should, immediately after Uma's submission, have 
given his entire confidence to this adventurer and, in defiance of all 
warnings, should have persisted in strengthening Uma by generous 
subsidies of Dutch weapons and Dutch money. 

Thus assisted, Uma overcame his own enemies — for partizan 
struggles and civil war raged even after the Dutch power was esta- 
blished in Acheh — and, under the guise of fighting against the foes 
of the Dutch regime, he dealt out, as his own, plentiful subsidies to 
his friends in the War-party and tried by all means in his power to 
acquire the maximum of influence both over the Dutch and their 
opponents. Of course this could not go on for long; as soon as it 
ceased to be possible for Uma to continue to combine the satisfaction 
of the wishes of the War-party with the appearance of advancing the 
interests of the Government, the barrel would burst — and there was 
not much doubt on which side Uma would elect to be. From the very 
first he set himself to winning substantial gains for the War-party and 
nominal advantages for the Dutch, which last advantages however 
seriously taken had no real value whatever. A "line" of greater extent 
than the original , concentrated" line, could effect nothing whatever in 
the way of terminating an insurrection that had its centres and its 
granaries outside Great Acheh in the dependencies. Yet this extension 
of the line was the only apparent gain which Uma, appointed a com- 
mander of friendly Achehnese forces and considered by the Governor 
as a trusty councillor, brought to his protector; and this gain was 
due to — and continued to depend on — the slender thread of his 

In March, 1896, Uma thought that the time had come to remove 
the scales from the eyes of the blindly-trusting General Deykerhoff. 
He had then sufficient money and arms to play a leading part among 


the War-party, and the claims wliicli his friend DeykeRHOKK pressed 
upon him bei^an to be tjurdensomc. 

His secret opposition to Dutch rule thus changed to open hostility, 
but since the real purport of his actions had long been as obvious as 
the day, we cannot speak — except in a highly specialized sense — 
of Uma's "defection". 

The Uma episode, however melancholy in itself, indirectly exercised 
a healthy influence upon the management of Achehnese affairs. Its 
termination opened all eyes to the need of vigorous action if one did 
not wish to abandon altogether the subjugation of Acheh. In 1896, the 
war against the Achehnese, which had been allowed to be suspended 
since 188 1 witliout any real resultant gain, was resumed. Above all 
since Governor Van Heutsz in 1898 took the direction of affairs every- 
thing has been methodically done to make the necessary end, once and 
for all, of this insurrection. 

The enemy, by nature more warlike and from of old more devoted 
to war tlian any race in the neighbouring islands, was by this time far 
better equipped than at the outset of the Dutch invasion of Acheh. 
He had a superfluity of arms and munitions; he possessed a better 
knowledge of the tactics of European troops and the difficulties that 
they had to overcome; and lie had, during the concentration-time, 
formed no high estimate of his foe's intelligence. Thus then his self- 
confidence stood higher than ever. 

Wlienever the Dutch troops encountered the Achehnese in the open 
field the die was soon cast; these latter could not — owing to lack 
of unity and organization ■ — • keep in the field anything like a military 
force for long. On the other liantl the Achehnese have an advantage 
in guerilla warfare which makes their subjugation a gigantic task and 
through which the combatant numbers at their foe's disposal are of 
even less avail than his superior strategy and organization. Between the 
populated districts the Achehnese finds sometimes jungles and some- 
times swamps in which he can conceal himself; from the central high- 
lands of North Sumatra where the Gayos and Alassers live, a huge ring 
of forest separates him. In ordinary times he makes clearings for pepper 
and rice fields in the jungle; in time of need such clearings ofter them- 
selves as excellent hiding-places over which bands can scatter themselves. 
For gampong-dwellers who do not wish to submit, the abandonment 
of their habitations is thereby rendered less distressing; they settle in 


the ladangs or open up new clearings in the jungle, — for preference, 
in out-of-the-way corners. 

Thus then the gampongs of Acheh and its dependencies became 
partly depopulated, and the illimitable virgin forest became dotted, 
here and there, with temporary clearings used as the settlements some- 
times of large communities, sometimes of petty bands, — situated as 
far as possible from any common path, very difficult to trace and as 
good as inaccessible for large military forces. The people remaining in 
the gampongs in apparent submission really sided with the expelled 
section so that the ladang-dwellers always found a cordial reception 
awaiting them in the gampongs, while the gampong-dwellers, when they 
had anything to their discredit, knew where they could safely retire to. 
Furthermore bands could count on safe hiding-places when they wished 
among the Gayos and Alassers, Mohammedan subjects of Acheh. 

Achehnese bands had to gather together and act for short periods 
only wherever through enquiries or the reports of their spies, they had 
reason to believe that they stood a good chance of winning some 
advantage or another. They were rarely exposed to attack on any 
large scale, for the almost inaccessible country that they understood 
in every detail helped them as an ally and enabled them to break up 
into small parties or even singly to betake themselves to their tem- 
porary places of refuge whenever necessary. The question of provisions 
troubled them but little ; they found on the spot pretty nearly every- 
thing necessary to satisfy their modest requirements. For serious attacks 
they made use of fanatics who, fortified by the assurance of their 
teachers that any one who fell jn a war against infidels would go straight 
to heaven, eagerly went to their death, and of assassins who pretended 
to be friendly so as to help the cause by gaining admission to some 
camp and there plunging into slaughter. Is it wonderful then that many 
a man, shrugging his shoulders, asked himself how all this was to end, 
and believed that the troops, to accomplish their task, would have to 
be not only brave and resourceful but ubiquitous? 

Truly Francis Light and James Price, whom we have already 
quoted, had grasped the situation in its most literal sense. It was 
necessary "to subdue all the chiefs", — and their name was legion! 

Only as guerillas against guerillas, by using the most lightly equipped 
native troops under the leadership of first-rate European officers with 
non-commissioned officers of like quality, and by operating in small 


detachments, could any real results be arrived at. In less than six years 
General Van Heutsz made such progress that now even the most 
sceptical must admit that we have come to the beginning of the end. 
The traitor Uma and numbers of adventurers, fanatical leaders and 
guerilla chiefs perished; the chiefs of dependent states, the members 
of the Sultan's family, and finally their head himself who in 1878 as a 
child had been proclaimed Pretender'Sultan, submitted almost without 
exception ; and thousands of refugees came back to their gampongs 
under the authority of Government. The continuance of the revolt is 
now censured by all chiefs of mark except a limited number of uni- 
versally respected religious leaders. This exception — and in fact the 
whole attitude of the teungkus (men learned in the scriptures) during 
the closing years of the war ■ — confirms anew the accuracy of what was 
said in this book in 1892 regarding the significance of the religious factor 
in the war; at that time no one believed it, but for the last two years 
every one has accepted it as a truth that he acknowledged from the first. 

If one casts a glance over the map so as to form some idea of the 
extent and desolate character of the country in which, by day and still 
more by night, operations had to be continually carried on; if one knows 
that several military e.vpeditions lasting weeks, — yes, and months — 
were necessary towards the central highlands of the Gayos in order to 
track down the enemy; that from 1898 the rule was enforced that all 
houses and settlements should be spared — in the case of enemies as 
well as in the case of those who submitted ; that one should always 
behave with the greatest indulgence towards hereditary chiefs, and that 
even repeated evidence of treachery formed no sufficient reason for not 
receiving them back into favour when they repented; — one then can 
understand what an effort must have been made to attain the position 
in which matters stand today. 

Truly, although this guerilla warfare gave no place to feats of arms 
generally called famous, the courage, the devotion, the foresight and 
local knowledge necessary to enable officers with their small detach- 
ments of troops to march tens of miles a da)' over very hilly ground, 
often pathless, through forest, swamp, and riverbed, to reach some 
hidden destination, were greater than one can picture from the plain 
military reports; and the hardships and privations which they and their 
subordinates had to patiently undergo would have caused any less sober 
nation than the Dutch to blow their own trumpet very loudly. 


The whole former kingdom of Acheh with the dependencies connected 
with it is now subject to Dutch rule ; all the districts are administered 
by hereditary chiefs under the constant supervision of Dutch Civil 
Servants and officials, and the military force is engaged in hunting 
down and reducing to impotence the last elements of disorder — the 
irreconcilable fanatics and the incorrigible plunderers — in their own 
selected hiding-places. The very reciprocal dissensions of the Achehnese, 
their efforts to impede the subjection of their opponents among their 
fellow-countrymen, make this work laborious and slow, but no one has 
any doubt about the ultimate issue, and even the surviving bands no 
longer delude themselves with the hope of baffling the Dutch for long. 
This commentary on the above-debated events of the last few years 
docs not aim at giving the reader an extract of Acheh's most recent 
history; the treatment of history lies outside the scope of my work. 
But just as in 1892, for a proper comprehension of the political, domestic, 
social and religious life of the Achehnese it was necessary now and 
again to recall certain historical events in order to explain the present 
by the past, so now it seems desirable not to leave the reader unac- 
quainted with the important changes which have taken place on the 
political stage at Acheh since the appearance of the Dutch edition of 
my work. This further thought occurs to me as its writer: that the 
period separating the two editions of the work has, in all material 
details, placed the seal of truth upon the diagnosis of the disease made 
by me in 1892, when many doubted me, while other doctors thought 
that the complaint was beyond healing. Now no one any longer doubts 
that the dogmas of Islam on the subject of religious war, so fanatical 
in their terms, supplied the principal stimulus to this obstinate rebellion ; 
that the teungkiis, or religious leaders, came more and more during the 
war to be masters of the country and terrorized the hereditary chiefs 
as well as the populace wherever these last were disposed to peace ; 
that only a forcible subjugation followed by orderly control over the 
administration could bring about peace; that the Dutch Government in 
Acheh could effect nothing by pressure from outside; that the control 
of the country through controlling its harbours was impracticable ; and 
that Tuanku Muhamat Dawot who had been made Sultan as a child, 
however much he enjoyed the homage mingled with fear that natives 
are apt to give to the descendants of their tyrants, was a nonentity in 
a political sense and was in a position neither to do the Dutch much 


harm nor to give them any serious assistance in the pacification of the 

It was precisely during the most important years of the Acheh War 
that the work of translation was going on, with many pauses and at 
a slow pace. When the book was at last completed in manuscript, and 
when the first volume had been printed in full and the second to the 
extent of some pages, Mr. O'SULLIVAN was, in August 1903, carried 
off by a most sudden death. Shortly before his death it had been 
arranged between us that he should compile an alphabetical index rerum 
which would take the place of the lists of contents of chapters as well 
as of the list of Achehnese words attached to the original edition. 
Besides this, Mr. O'Sui.I.IVAN planned a translator's preface to follow 
mine. This last feature must now be lost to the reader; the compilation 
of the inde.x as well as the translation of this introduction was kindly 
undertaken by Mr. Wll.KlNSUN who was intimately acquainted with 
Mr. O'Sulijvan's project. 

Besides the above-mentioned differences the English translation differs 
from the original edition in the following respects. Mr. O'SULLIVAN has 
appended some notes, marked as coming from the translator and dealing 
especially with the aspect of the phenomena cognate to those in the 
text whenever they are also met with in the Malay Peninsula. The two 
geographical maps which accompanied the Dutch edition have been 
entirly re-cast, as the expeditions which traversed the country during 
the last years of the war were extremely useful for topographical pur- 
poses. The portions still unsurveyed we are able to fill in by means 
of outline-sketches and reliable data from native sources. All that could 
be gathered from all the above-mentioned sources of information up to 
1903 has been embodied in our two maps which were prepared in the 
topographical bureau at Batavia. Of the photographic plates which 
illustrated the first edition, some have been omitted, others replaced 
by better, and many are inserted for the first time. Some texts in the 
Achehnese language, of which a summary or translation appeared in 
the course of descriptions (e. g. regarding the conclusion of a marriage 
in Vol. I, and regarding the sadati-^-Axnc?, in Vol. II), were given in 
the Dutch text as appendices to the first edition ; these appendices are 
now omitted. Finally the spelling of Achehnese words has been some- 
what modified to suit English eyes and ears. 

The Achehnese language of which the consonants as well as the 


vowels present great difficulties to foreigners and of which a correct 
grasp and imitation can only be acquired by Non-Achehnese after great 
labour, is written by the Achehnese themselves in the Arabic character. 
This character is inadequate for representing the consonants and wholly 
incapable of representing the vowels of the Achehnese. Thus it comes 
about that the Achehnese adhere to the spelling which represented 
their language in a bygone age when many sounds now lost or modified 
occurred in it ; thus for instance they write an r at the end of syllables 
but do not sound it; they write / at the end of syllables but sound it 
as J or e; s is changed in the same position to li or ih. For all these 
reasons one can hardly read Achehnese as written by Achehnese without 
having previously mastered the colloquial. 

There can thus be no question of transliterating the native tongue. 
We must treat Achehnese according to phonetic systems of spelling. 
The system drawn up by me for the purpose is now generally followed 
and is here employed with the necessary modifications for English use. 

Here follow some remarks on the phonetic value of the letters used, 
though they can only serve to give the reader a rough idea of the 
true sound. 

The ' in words like aneii , bd , seuot, stands for a consonant which 
European orthographical systems usually neglect although it occurs 
among us. It is that consonant with which all words begin that are 
incorrectly written with an initial vowel ; it arises out of the rush of 
breath after a sudden opening of the larynx. When this consonant 
occurs in English between two vowels (e. g. in be 'out, too 'old when 
such words are uttered without the use of the connecting semi-vowels 
y and %v), it is called the "hiatus", and in some words — usually 
interjections — where it occurs as a final, it is altogether omitted in 
writing just as it is omitted as an initial. In Achehnese (which knows 
no diphthongs) this consonant plays too great a part to be omitted ; 
it also frequently occurs in this as well as in many other native lan- 
guages as a final, and is sometimes a weakened form of k, t, etc. We 
write it as ' in the middle and at the end of a word but we leave it 
unwritten as an initial; this latter concession .to European orthographical 
methods can cause no confusion. 

A peculiar nasal variant of ' we write as ^ ; the reader must infer that 
the vowel following this symbol is pronounced very nasally. 

The letters d, t, I and n are uttered (more delicately than in English) 


by a short blow with the tip of the tongue against the base of the teeth. 

g is approximately the iMiglish g in gun. 

j and cJi approach the sound of those letters in English but are 
enunciated in a drier way. 

Ii is the well-known aspirate, but it is also very distinctly sounded 
at the end of a syllable, e. g. in boh, sa/i, sahbat, however iiutcli the 
untrained European ear may miss it. The // has also its full sound 
when it occurs after another consonant; in pha, kaphe, dhbe, that, Ihec, 
it is sounded as distinctly as in uphold, red-heat, out-house, etc., at the 
beginning as well as in the middle of words. 

ng is sounded as in bring but it also used as an initial, e.g. in ngeu. 
This consonant, as also the ;;/, is pronounced very nasally. 

tiy usually stands for the single sound which in French is represented 
by gn, e. g., in oigiion. 

r in the predominant dialect is sounded as a very soft guttural, so 
that this letter dwindles away at the end of a word and is not marked 
by us in our system. 

J- sounds like the English tli in think; but it is uttered in a very 
palatal way by the pressure of the front part of the tongue against 
the roof of the mouth. Untrained ears often confuse this sound with t. 

The remaining consonants need no explanation. 

a is sounded as in French; / as ca in sea and beat; u as oo in too 
and soon; e as ay in say or ai in sail; i as in the French perc or (in 
closed syllables) as in set; o as in boat, liome; b as in the French sort 
but this vowel often occurs in open syllables and is then pronounced 
very long. 

eu is a vowel very difficult for European organs of speech to exactly 
reproduced ; it approaches closest to the French eu and the German 6, 
but one should try to utter it with firmly closed teeth and without 
pushing the lips forward in the least, so that the distance between the 
corners of the mouth is rather increased than decreased. The back of 
the tongue must be pressed against the palate and between these two 
one should force out the breath steadily with the least possible opening 
of the glottis. Unaccented, this vowel resembles the indeterminate vowel 
in the French je, le, se. 

e is a very slightly marked vowel which only appears in the pro- 
longation of others, e. g., of i, e, u, b and eu (thus ie, e'e, u'e, be, eu'e, 
in which the soft connecting semi-vowel _;- is heard in the case of the 


first two and the soft connecting scnii-vowel w in the case of the last 
three) and it sounds then like the final vowel-sound in the French atnie 
or in the Dutch harmonieen. 

i is almost as furtive; it only appears after other vowels (all except 
i, e, c] and separates them from a final //, e. g. aloih, baga'ili. The ik 
is only the corrupted sound of an original j-. 

e is the protracted and accented pronunciation of the vowel in the 
French jc, le, se \ in Achehnesc verses make it rhyme with o. 



Introduction. Pp. v — xxi. 

Chapter I. Distribution of the people, forms of government and 
administration of justice ; Pp. i — 193. 

(i) Introduction; p. i. (2) Elements of population ; p. 16. (3) Dress, 
food, luxuries, dwellings, household equipment; p. 25. (4) Distribution 
of the people; clans and tribes; p. 44. (5) The Gampong, its government 
and adats; p. 58. (6) The mukim and its administration; p. 80. (7) The 
uleebalangships and their constitution; p. 88. (8) The Rajas (Sultans) 
of Acheh ; p. 120. (9) Rivals of the traditional authorities; political 
adventurers and representatives of religion; p. 151. Appendix; p. 190. 

Chapter II. Achehnese Calendars, festivals and seasons. Agriculture, 
navigation and fishery. Laivs relating to land and tvater ; Pp. 194 — 294. 

(i) The Achehno-Mohammedan divisions of time ; p. 194. (2) Feasts 
and appointed times and seasons; p. 202. (3) The civil or Season 
Calendar; p. 245. (4) Agriculture, tenths and sugar-cane planting; p. 258. 
(5) Navigation and fisheries; p. 275. (6) Rights on land and water; p. 285. 

Chapter III. Domestic life and lazv; Pp. 295 — 439. 

(1) Proposal, betrothal and marriage contract; p. 329. (3) Early days 
of married life; polygamy and concubinage; financial relations of husband 
and wife; p. 356. (4) Divorce; p. 367. (5) Pregnancy and birth; early 
years of childhood; p. 371. (6) The parents as bringers-up of their 
children; p. 401. (7) Sicknesses; their origin and cure; p. 408. (8) Death 
and the disposal of the dead; p. 418. (9) Distribution of Effects; p. 434. 


Vol. I, p. 19, line 21 : iireu'engdagang, read: ureiO^ng dagang. 

„ „ „ 76, line 18: statescraft, read: statecraft. 

„ „ „ 145, line [2: negligable, read: negligible. 

„ , „ 152, line 23: heriditary, read: hereditary. 

„ „ „ [60, line 25 : strategein, read : stratagem. 

„ „ „ 161, line 25: rigouroHslv, read: rigorously. 

„ „ „ 162, line 33: strategein, read: stratagem. 

„ „ „ 163, line g: mustache, read: moustache. 

, „ „ 170, line g: irresistable, read: irresistible. 

„ „ , 177, line [4: negligable, read: negligible. 

„ „ „ 185, note I: (^foc/ /(;)0/, read: ci'/fc/ igoj. 

„ „ „ I go, line 16: «.f Sultan, read: as Sultan. 

„ „ „ „ line 4: from below: Mahnut, reatl : Maliiniit. 

„ „ ,,191, line 10: in Ach, read: in Achehnese. 

„ „ „ „ line 5 : from below : Abu Bahr, read : Abn Bakr 

„ „ , „ note 4: Qadir iyyali, read: Qadiriyyah. 

„ „ „ ig2, line 11 : Merey, read: mercy. 

„ „ , ig7, line 17: Ihalathiyyah, read: Thalathiyyah. 

„ „ „ 205, line 10: mohammedons, read: mohammedans. 

„ „ „ 219, line 24: Abdarrltaman, read: Abdarrahman. 

„ „ „ 272, line 17: toosed, read: tossed. 

„ „ „ 272, note 3, line 3: menstruction, read: inenstriiatiflu. 

„ „ , 273, line 2: sinaleh, read: sinaleh. 

„ „ „ 280, note I : geurcHpok, read : geiireupoh. 

„ „ „ 297, note I : manchari, read : manchari. 

„ „ „ 304, line 1 5 : samoc, read : sramoe. 

„ „ » 330> note: prefer, YQa.A: prefer. 

„ „ 1) 33'. l'"c 15: unmaried, read: unmarried. 


Vol. I, ]). 338, note 4: oiuu , read: aiiiii'. 

nun 37"^' note 3 : al-aili, read : ai-taili. 

„ „ , 386, line 7: leuiHpl'i-, read: Iciimpe. 

„ „ „ 405, note 3: uiidiko, read: andiko. 

„ „ „ 409, line 14 and notes 4 and 5 : balfihin. read : bahtciu. 

„ . „ , 420, note 2 : scissou, read : scissor. 



§ I. Introduction. 

The limits of the kingdom of Acheh ') in Sumatra are placed by the p,oundaiies of 
Achchnese themselves at Teumicng (Tamiang) on the East Coast, but 
far more to the South on the Western Coast, viz. at Baros or whatever 
other point they regard as marking the boundary between the territory 
of the princes of Menangkabau and that of the Sultans of Acheh. Far 
more restricted, however, is the territory they describe as "Acheh" 
proper, or as we are wont to term it, "Great Acheh". 

This kernel of the kingdom, which has supplied the outlying districts 
with a considerable portion of their inhabitants, and has constantly 
striven to exercise more or less dominion over them, is according to 
the Achehnese idea bounded by a line extending from Kluang on the 
West, to Krucng Raya on the North Coast, and passing through Reueng- 
reueng, Pancha and Janthoe '). 

1) Some examples of the etymological lore of the Achehnese in respect to the name of 
their own country may be found in Van Langen's Dc furichting van hct Aljihsche Stuals- 
bestvur onder het Sultanaat in the Bijdragen van hct Kon. Inst, voor dc Taat-^ Land- en 
Volkcnkundc van Ncderlandsch-Indlc for the year 1888, p. 386. There are various other 

explanations of the name in vogue, but not a single one is reliable. We find in .\cheh 
but one more repetition of the phenomenon, that the names of countries, races and peoples 
present insoluble riddles to the etymologist, while those of villages and hamlets are as a 
rule fairly easy of analysis. We must thus rest content with knowing that the word Acheh, 
which is of unknown origin, is applied as the designation both of the whole country and 
of its chief town, and also of the entire population. 

2) These three places lie on the footpaths uniting Acheh with the territory of Pidic 
(vulg. Pedir). We find the boundaries somewhat differently marked in the ordinary maps 
and in the above c[Uoted brochure of Van I.angeu p. 3S2. 


The form of this, the true Achch, the Achchncse delight to com- 
pare to that of a winnowing-basket (jcu'ec), as may be seen in tlie 

jeu'kk (winnowing hasket). the achehnese compare the form 


illustration '). The dcbouchcmcnt of the Achch river {/ciia/a Achcli) 
suggests to their fancy the somewhat sharply pointed mouth of the 
winnower, whence all unclean particles adhering to the husked rice arc 
shaken out. 

Proceeding down stream, wc have the territory of the XXV Mu- 
kims') on the left and that of the XXVI Mukims on the right, the 
intervening space up to the broad belt of outl)-ing country being oc- 

1) These l).asl<ets are made of strips of the bark of a small tree called /'//;' plaited together. 

2) For the derivation and meaning of the word mukhii see § 6. In Penang and Pro- 
vince Wellesley the English Government has adopted the word to designate the minor 
subdivisions of a district for administrative purposes. In its stricter sense it corresponds 
almost exactly to the English word "parish". (Tni/;s/ii/oi'). 


cupied by the XXII Mukims. A comparison with the three angles 
of a triangle has still more deeply engrafted itself into the lan- 
guage; these three confederations or congeries of mukims are called 
the Ihi'e sagb'e (Mai. tiga sagi) i. e. the three angles of Acheh, and 
the three uleebalangs or chieftains who stand or are supposed to 
stand at the head of these three districts, are called panglima sagb'e, 
or heads of sagi or angles. 

The history of this 'triangular kingdom" and of the coast-states and History of 
islands which constituted its dependencies remains yet to be written. 
European sources of information, such as accounts of travels and extracts 
from old archives, can only furnish us with very fragmentary materials ; 
yet it is to these that we should have to look for the basis of such a 
work. Malayan chronicles and the native oral tradition, though furnishing 
us with much of interest as regards the methods of thought of the 
writers and their coevals, cannot be relied on as the groundwork of 
history. They are but collections of fabulous genealogies, legends and 
tales dressed up to suit the author's fancy, which must be subjected 
to a careful process of filtration before they can be brought into unison 
with more solid materials. 

Our present purpose is to describe how the Achehnese live and how 
they are governed, what they think and what they believe. As the 
present has ever its roots in the past, a retrospective glance over the 
earlier history of Acheh might be of great service to us in this enquiry 
were it not that, for the reasons just stated, this history is to a great 
extent wrapped in obscurity. As regards history, then, we limit ourselves 
to what our discussion of existing institutions brings to light en passant 
and for further information refer our readers to Prof. Veth's Atcli'tn 
pp. 60 ct seq., where the principal historical traditions are set forth 
in detail. 

In the present chapter we propose to give a review of the distribu- 
tion of population, the government and administration of justice as 
they existed before the Achehnese war introduced an element of 

As a matter of fact, however, the disorder thus created has left the 
main features untouched ; and anyone who has some knowledge of the 
public institutions of other kindred nations will if ho follow our de- 
scription be brought to the conclusion that these institutions in Acheh 
are in a large measure genuinely indigenous and of very great antiquit)-. 

Signiticance Our purpose difl'ers from that aimed at by I\Ir. K. F. II. Van Langcii 

script docu-'" '"'^ cssay on the system of government in Acheh under the Sul- 

mentsrc- tanate '). He takes as his chief sources of information one or two 

specting the 

institutions manuscript documents, known in Acheh under the name of sarakata. 
country They contain decrees having the force of law and are ascribed to 
Sultans IMeukuta Alam or Iskantlar Mtida(i6o7 — 1636) and to Shamsul- 
alam, who reigned for a period of one month only (1726 — 27) according 
to the Achehnese chronicles. The writer has illustrated and completed 
the contents of these documents from the oral tradition of the Achehnese. 

To assign their true value to these documents we must allow our- 
selves a slight digression. 

It is abundantly clear from all the .sources of Achehnese history, be 
they native or P'uropean, that there has never been an opportunity in 
Acheh for a regulated and normal development of forms of government 
or administration of justice. In vain do we seek in any period of her 
history for order and repose. It is not to be found even during the 
reigns of those princes who shed the greatest prosperity and lustre 
over the land, such as Alaudin al-Qahar ^), known also as .Sidi Mukamil 
or Mukamal (1540 — 67), Eseukanda (Iskandar) Muda or Meukuta Alam 
(1607 — 36) '), not to mention their successors. 

Examined closely, this show of ro)al grandeur is found to consist 
in some enlargements of territory, increase af authority over the ports 
(which are the seats of civilization and wealth in all Malayan countries) 
and consequent increase of revenue, which gave rise to greater splendour 
at court, but no serious effort towards the establishment of solid insti- 
tutions such as survive the overthrow of dynasties. 

The only attempts at centralization of authority, or reformation whether 

social, political or religious, are precisely these very edicts which we 

■ have just referred to. Of the contents of these by no means ample 

i) Printed in the Hijciragen van het Kon. Instiluut voor ile Taal-. Land- en Volkcnhundc 
at the H.ague for the year 1888 pp. 381 et seq. In referring to this essay in future we 
shall call it the Aljehsch Staatsbcsttiiir^ and give the pages of the aliove number of the 

2) In Achehnese Alaidin Kha. 

3) The year 1636 is confirmed as the correct dale of the death of Meul<uta Alam by 
the pandit Raniri in his treatise (jl^.li'j Cj|^.r*»-^' v_JiJi3* *-iAj (printed at Mckl<a in 131 1 
Heg. on the margin of the edition of li^ill _b') for he says that he came to Acheh in 
1637 while Iskandar Thani was king. 


political fragments it may be said that hardly a single one of the inno- 
vations they comprise has passed from document into actuality, but 
simply that the state of things they reveal as already in being has 
continued its existence. 

It is not difficult to distinguish in these edicts the old and already 
established conditions from the new ones which they purport to 

The principal features of this old status were the great independence 
of the numerous chiefs and the all-prevailing influence of traditional custom. 

The new elements may be classified as follows : 

i". Attempts at an extension of the authority of the Sultan by 
allotting to him, the king of the port, a certain control over the suc- 
cession of the other chieftains of the land — a matter which for the 
rest is treated in these edicts as inviolable — over the disputes of 
these chiefs with one another, or those between the subjects of different 
chiefs, and over the interests of strangers. In a word, some very 
moderate efforts at centralization of authority, having it for their object 
to make the Sultan priniiis inter pares; the establishment of a kind of 
indication of fealty, meant to serve as an open and visible reminder 
of the existence of such a relation between Sultan and chiefs. 

2". Certain rules intended to bring about a stricter observance of 
Muhammedan law. 

3". Regulations dealing with trade (then confined to the capital) the 
shares of certain officials established in the capital in the profits drawn 
from this trade by the king of the port, the court ceremonial, the 
celebration of great religious festivals etc. 

During my residence in Acheh I obtained copies of a number of other 
sarakatas not included among those published by Van Langen. They 
were as a rule lengthy documents and most of them bore dates. 
The following are examples: one of Meukuta Alam or Eseukanda (Is- 
Wuda, dated 1607, revived by the princess Sapiatodin in 1645, intended 
kandar) to regulate the court ceremonial and solemnities at festivals 
(very rich in details) ; two of Meukuta Alam = Eseukanda (Iskandar) 
Muda, dated respectively 1635 and 1640 {sic); one of Jamalul-AIam 
(in Achehnese Jemnaloj) dated 16S9, revived by Alaedin Juhan, the 
second prince of the latest dynasty, in 1752; one of Alaedin Mahmut 
dated 1766; and certain undated edicts of Sapiatodin, Amat Shah Juhan 
(the first prince of the latest dynasty) and Badrudin Asem (Hashim), all 

dealing with commercial iuu\ port regulations as affecting different 
nationalities and different kinds of merchandise, and the collection and 
distribution of taxes. In these we even find detailed customs-tariffs '). 

These documents are identical in spirit and intention with those 
published by Van l.angen; but they contain much more information 
as regards the ceremonial of court and festival and the collection and 
disposal of taxes on imports, anti are occasionally at variance with the 
latter as regards details. 

What has been the practical development of the three new elements 
introduced by these edicts? 

The rules noticed under heading 3" above are those wliich have 
had most significance in actual practice. Of these we may say that they 
exercised, during the reign of their promulgator at least, some degree 
of authority over life and trade in the seaport town. To assert more 
than this is to go outside the bounds of probability and to come into 
conflict with unimpeachable data. Perpetual dynastic struggles leading 
to the death or downfall of the rulers, the unstable character of these 
rulers themselves, the endeavours of chiefs and officials even in the 
capital to promote their own authority and profit, the want of a proper 
machinery of government based on other principles than "might is 
right", all this and much more serves to establish the fact that in the 
history of Acheh no period can be pointed out in which even these 
regulations affecting the capital have passed current as the living law 
of the land. 

The religious elements mentioned under heading 2" were certainly 
not introduced into the edicts through the zeal of the princes of Acheh, 
any more than the proclamations of appointments of Achehnesc chiefs 
(as drawn at the Court down to the present time) can be said to owe 
their almost entirely religious contents to the piety of the princes or 
of tlie appointed chiefs themselves. A Moslim prince augments his 
prestige vastly by such concessions to the law of his creed, albeit a 
serious and strict application of the latter would greatly curtail his 

i) How little reliance can be placed on Achehnesc data in respect to the origin of such 
written laws, may be deduced from the mention of the tomb of Teungku Anjong in the 
so-called laws of Meukuta Alam (Van Langcn, Atjehsih Slaalshcstuitr p. 442). Teungku 
Anjong (t 1782 A. D.) was not even born in the reign of Meukuta Alam (f 1636 A. 1).). 
The general tendency is to refer all that has become customary law to the Sultans in 
general ("</(/<;/ p'oleu nwiirtiiliom'^)^ and to Meukuta .Mam in particular. 

power and impede his actions. Besides (and this is a most important 
factor) the supporters of the sacred law have in such countries no 
inconsiderable influence over the people, so that it might be dangerous 
for the princes and chiefs to disregard their wishes and requirements '). 
This is fully understood by these potentates, most of whom, while they 
follow their own devices in the actual administration of government, 
are wont outwardly to show all possible honour to the upholders of 
religion, to declare verbally that they set the highest value on their 
wisdom, and now and then, merely as a matter of form, to grant them 
access to their councils. 

Such has been the system of the Achehnese sovereigns. Ulamas and 
other more or less sacred persons enjoyed considerable distinction in 
their country and at their court. They used even to "give orders" for 
the compiling of manuals of theology and law, which in plain language 
meant that they made a money payment to the writer of such a book. 
They would even allow themselves occasionally to be persuaded by 
some person of unusual influence to undertake a persecution of heretics, 
which however generally proved quite abortive. In their legislative 
edicts, which are almost all devoted to questions of trade and court 
affairs, they have in a fashion of their own rendered unto God the 
things that are God's, and so far as these ordinances confine themselves 
to what we should call a purely religious sphere, we have no reason 
to doubt the good intentions of the law-gi\-ers. Though their fleshly 
weakness was apparent from their irreligious life, their spirit was willing 
enough to remember the life hereafter, when the question came up of 
the building of mosques, the apportioning of money for religious pur- 
poses, the dispensing of admonitions or even the threatening of punish- 
ment for neglect of religious duties. But of any effort to introduce a 
system of government and administration of justice in harmony with 
the Mohammedan law we can gather nothing from the language of the 
edicts. They render in a purely formal manner due homage to the 
institutions ordained of Allah, which are everywhere as sincerely 
received in thcor)' as they are ill-observed in practice -). 

1) That this is particularly true of Acheh will be more clearly seen when we come to 
discuss the part played in Achehnese life by the mystics, ulamas and sayyids. 

2) It is well known that a man can remain a faithful Moslim in spite of transgression 
of almost every commandment of the law, whereas doubt or disbelief in one single jot or 
tittle makes him a kafir (infidel). 

Still more exclusively formal are the admonitions dispensed to the 
chiefs in the royal deeds of appointment. One mit^ht almost assert that 
the raja of Acheh who sanctioned the form of these documents must 
have charged his ulamas with the acceptable task of drawing them up. 

Thus Acheh had sovereigns who were lauded to the skies, especially 
after their death, by ulamas and other pious persons who basked in 
the sun of their good deeds and who actually saw some of their own 
devout wishes realized; yet religion had little influence on the forma- 
tion of her political system, less even than might be assumed from the 
dead letter of isolated edicts of the port-kings. 

It requires no proof to show that not one of these cautious efforts 
at centralization of authority mentioned above under head i", seriously 
enough meant though they were, was eventually crowned with success. 
The most powerful sultans dared not go further than to claim a certain 
right of interference, constituting themselves as it were a supreme 
court of arbitration. It may at once be concluded how far the rest of 
the petty rulers of both sexes progressed in this direction, weak and 
indolent as they were in disposition and fully taken up with anxiety 
to maintain their authority in their own immediate circle. -So far Irom 
lording it over the Achehnese chiefs, they were compelled to seek 
their favour so as not to lose their own position as kings of the ports. 

Besides this it must be considered that though the Achehnese sovereigns 
might have gained some increase of prestige from the establishment of 
their authority in the interior, still this was not of sufficient importance 
to induce them to make great sacrifices to win it. It is the ports, let 
it be repeated, that constitute the wealth and strength of states such 
as these. 

Where a port-king possesses the means and the energy to extend 
what he has already got, he prefers to stretch his covetous hand towards 
other ports, and tries to divert their trade to himself or to render them 
tributary. This he finds much better than meddling with the districts, 
desert and inhospitable both in a spiritual and material sense, which 
hide the sources of his kiialas or river-mouths. 

Nor do these rulers endeavour to ensure the permanence of their 
dominion in other ports which they have subdued by taking as its basis 
the introduction of an orderly form of government. The conquerors are 
content with the recognition of their supremacy and the payment of dues. 

Thus it is very easy to show how the rajas of Acheh during the 

short-lived period of prosperity of tlicir kingdom, kept the trading 
ports witliin a wide compass in subjugation with their fleets, but 
never got any further in the control of the interior than the issue of 
a few edicts on paper. 

We must not then allow ourselves to be misled by these edicts, 
valuable as they are as sources of information as to the history of 
the kings of Acheh. The danger of such error presents itself in two ways. 

In the first place, the Achehnese himself, when questioned as to the 
institutions of his country, will refer with some pride to these docu- 
ments, notwithstanding that most Achehnese have never seen copies 
of them and are almost entirely unacquainted with their contents. 

The ordinary Achehnese does this, because all that recalls to him 
the greatness of his country is closely connected with the names of 
those very princes who are generally regarded as the authors of the 
sarakatas. He firmly believes that all that he reveres as the sacred 
institutions of his country (albeit not mentioned in a single one of the 
edicts) is adat ') Meukuta Alain or at any rate adat pbteu vieurcuhom, 
"adat of defunct royalties", and he is convinced that information 
respecting them is of a certainty contained in some one or other of 
the sarakatas. 

The Achehnese chiefs have a secondary aim when they refer with 
a certain emphasis to these edicts as the laws of Acheh. All that is 
contained therein respecting court ceremonial, festivals, religion etc., they 
regard with complete indifference ; but every one of them is skilful in 
making quotations from the adats of the old sovereigns handed down 
in writing or by word of mouth, which may go to show that liis power. 
Ills territory, or Ids privileges should in reality be much greater than 
what he enjoys at the present time. 

The European who comes into contact only superficially with the 
native community, is too apt to think that the adat among them is an 
almost unchangeable factor of their lives, surrounded on every side 
with religious veneration. Yet it does not require much philosophic or 
historical knowledge to be convinced that such invariable elements 
subsist just as little in the native world as in our own, although among 
them the conscious reverence for all that is regarded as old and 

l) Adat is an Arabic word adopted in most Malayan languages. It means "custom", 
"usage", "customary law" as opposed to Imkum or "religious law". (Tr.anslator). 


traditional is stronger than in our own modern societies. In contrast 
to the changeablcncss of the individual, the adat presents itself as 
something abiding and incontrovertible, with which that individual may 
not meddle; yet the adat changes like all other worldly things with 
every successive generation, — nay, it never remains stationary for a 
moment. Even natives, whose intelligence is above the ordinary, know 
this well and use it to further their own purposes. 

The slowly but surely changing institutions of their society arc thus 
revered as fixed and unchangeable by its individual units. Hut it is 
precisely in this connection that opportunity is given for continual 
disputes as to the contents of the adat '). What is, in fact, the real and 
genuine adat, that which according to unimpeachable witnesses was 
formerly so esteemed, or that which the majority follow in practice 
at the present day, or that which man)-, by an interpretation opposed 
to that of the majorit)', hoUl tn be lawful and permitted? 

Most questions of importance give rise to this three-fold query, and 
the answer is, as may be readily supposed, prompted by the personal 
interest of him who frames it. 

Our object being to arrive at some knowledge of the institutions of 
the country, it is impossible for us to accept the reference of the 
Achehnese to the edicts of the kings of olden times, which are ab- 
solute mysteries to most of them, whilst others construe them to suit 

Even apart from the danger of accepting such reference as gospel, 
the European is exposed to a further risk, namely of misunderstanding 
the true signification of such edicts. Accustomed to the idea that all 
law should be suitably drawn in writing, he is apt to be overjoyed at 
coming on the track of a collection of written ordinances, especially 
in a place characterized by such hopeless confusion as the Achehnese 
states. So when he perceives that there is now little or no actual ob- 
servance of these laws, he rushes to the conclusion that at an earlier 
l)eriod order and unity preceded the present misrule. The very contrary 
of this can be proved to be the case as far as Acheh is concerned. 
As a general rule we do not sutticiently retlect that in countries of the 
standard of civilization reached by the Malayan races, the most important 
lazus arc those whicli are not set dotvn in zvriting, but find their ex- 

i) Cf. the remarks on the adat of the rulers of Mekka in my JA-H'a, Vol. I. p. Iioetseq- 

1 1 

prcssion, sometimes in proverbs and familiar sayings, but always and 
above all in the actual occurrences of daily life which appeal to the 
comprehension of all. 

Speaking of Acheh only, there will be found described hereafter 
laws which control the relation of chief to subject, of man to wife and 
children, laws which everyone in Acheh observes and every village 
headman has at his fingers' ends; and yet of all these living laws no 
single written document testifies 'j, though every single sentence of an 
Achehnese judge bears witness to their existence. 

Such has been the case all over the East Indian Archipelago. Who- 
ever would introduce by force an alteration in existing legal institutions 
found it necessary to reduce his innovation to writing, but those who 
were content to leave things as they were, seldom resorted to codifi- 
cation of the customary law. Whether changes such as these are abiding 
or disappear after a brief show of life, the writing remains as their 
witness ; it is the life of the people alone that testifies of institutions 
which have withstood the attack of external change and modify them- 
selves intrinsically by almost imperceptible degrees. 

One might even assert that where codification of the customary law- 
has been purposely resorted to (as in the luidang-undang'^) of certain 
Malay states) this embodiment in writing is a token that the institutions 
in question are beginning to fall into decay ^). Collections of documents 
of this sort ofier to the conscientious enquirer a string of conundrums 
impossible of solution, unless he be thoroughly conversant with the 
actual daily life of native society, of the traditions of which such legal 
maxims form but a small part. 

What we have said above perhaps renders it superfluous to add that 

i) In entire contrast with the '^Ordinance of the 141/1 March iSSi wilh respect to the 
atliiiinlslralion of justice among the native population of Great Acheh with an explanatory 
iiieiiioianiiiim by Mr. T. II. dcr A'indcren^''., liatavia 1881. As this urilinance perished at 
its birth, the Achehnese have never felt its effects. 

2) "Laws", "code of laws" {Translator^. 

3) The case is of course somewhat different with regard to certain codes de.ilini; with 
the decrees of sovereigns in regard to a limited number of subjects, such as the Ilukum 
Kanun of Malacca and others. These are expressive not of decay, but of a temporary 
desire for order and reform. Of these the same holds true as of the Adat Meukuta Alam 
in .\cheh; the real living adats are therein for the most part silently taken for granted 
and not committed to writing; while the new matter which the books contain must have 
had a very brief existence in view of the constant changes of government. They principally 
consist, as a rule, of regulations regarding the court of the sultan and maritime commerce. 


we should be wandering altogether off the right track in seeking for 
the laws and institutions of countries such as Acheh in lawbooks of 
foreign (e. g. Arabic) origin. Such works are it is true, translated, 
compiled and studied in the country, but their contents have only a 
liniitetl influence on the life of its people '). It is owing to a miscon- 
ception of this very obvious truth that the entirely superficial enquiry 
of Mr. der Kinderen (or his secretary Mr. L. W. C. Van den Berg) 
has proved abortive, as may be seen from his "explanatory memoran- 
dum" just referred to. To any one who has made himself acquainted 
with the political and social life of the Achehnese, his remarks on 
pj). 1/ — 1 8 of his memorandum will sound as audacious as they are 
untrue: "Nor indeed is there any trace of ancient popular customs in 
conflict with Islam, at least in the sense that would indicate a customary 
law having its existence in the consciousness of the people, as is the 
case for example with the characteristic institutions regarding the law 
of person and inheritance which we meet with among the Malays on 
the west coast of Sumatra. The native chiefs when questioned as to 
such popular customs, either gave evasive answers, or quoted as such 
certain rules for the ceremonial in the Kraton, the distinctive appella- 
tions of various chiefs etc., all of course institutions of a wholly different 
sort from what was intended by the en([uirer. Apparently they mis- 
understood the ilrift of the question and confused the material with 
the formal and administrative law. Only one of them, who, it may be 
remarked was no Achehnese by birth, but of Afghan descent, abso- 
lutely denied the existence of any legal institutions conflicting with 
the Mohammedan law 

i) The tiulh of this is also entirely overlooked in Mr. I,. W. C. Van den Berg's essay 
on the "■Divergences from the Mohammedan law as to family and inheritance in Java and 
MadurcC in the Bijdragcn van hct Koninkl. Institiiut voor de Taal-^ Land- en Volkcnkunde 
van Ncderlandsch-Indie for 1892 p. 454 seq. Throughout this essay he employs as data 
for determining the ancient institutions of Java, regulations which appear in various law- 
books compiled under Hindu influence. To appreciate the folly of such a method we have 
only to imagine for a moment that the present civilization of the Javanese was by a 
revolution exchanged for one totally different. Then when the new order of things had 
been firmly established we should find in Java, not merely here and there, but every- 
where, complete codes of Mohammedan law, some in Arabic, others translated into Javanese 
or with Javanese notes. We should thus have much stronger evidence of a theoretical 
application of Mohammedan law than we now find as regards Hindu law. Mr. Van den 
l!erg could then present to our view a Javanese code of law more strictly Mohammedan 
than has ever been enforced in any Moslim country! 


"We find in existence undang-undang or collections of such public 
ordinances attributed to various Achehnese rulers, all dealing with 
trade, navigation, import and export duties, administration and cere- 
monial. Sultan Iskandar Muda (1607 — 1636) in particular appears to 
have applied himself to calling into existence a system of rules on 
these subjects. His code, if we may so term it, is called Makota Alam ') 
or Adat Kanun, but copies of this are rare." 

No one could have recorded in a more naive manner the want of 
intelligence which he brought to bear on his enquiry. 

The Achehnese in general and their chiefs in particular will have 
themselves Mohammedans and nothing else. Within a few years pre- 
vious to the visit of Mr. der Kinderen to Acheh, they had for the 
first time come under the control of a non-Mohammedan power, and 
regarded their new masters with distrust, all the more as a rumour 
had gone abroad that the "Gompeuni"^) was everywhere endeavouring 
to introduce its Christian laws and to draw the Mohammedans away 
from their own religion. No wonder then that the chiefs "gave an 
evasive answer", or imparted little pertinent information in reply to 
the foolish query of Mr. der Kinderen and his friends (who had never 
come into contact with the people) as to whether there were ancient 
customs prevalent in Acheh conflicting with the law of Islam. Sup- 
posing it to be true that they "did not understand the meaning of the 
question", the blame for this rests on him who asked it. It is undoub- 
tedly the easiest way to conduct an enquiry to address a sort of 
catechism to some individuals, and then to accept as of solid worth 
any follies they may choose to retail to you in reply, but to do so is 
to trifle with a serious subject. 

The chiefs were naturally afraid that an affirmative answer might 
give rise to all kinds of new enactments "in conflict with the law of 
Islam". Besides, they would be very slow to admit that any of their 
institutions was in conflict with Islam, and indeed are as a rule quite 
ignorant as to whether such is the case or not, being neither jurists 

1) This is incorrect. He was himself called Meukuta .-Mam after his death, and his 
ordinances are thus known as Ailat Meukuta Alam. 

2) Company. This appellation is taken from the Dutch E. India Company and has t.ikcn 
such root in the native mind that it is still used to designate the Government even after 
the "Company" proper has ceased to exist. Similarly in the Straits Settlements "Komp.ini" 
(— the East India Company) has survived the decease of that trading association and is 
still univers,ally used to denote the Hritish Government. (^Translator). 


nor theologians. Tliey arc all trained up in the doctrine that adat 
(custom law) and huk'nm (religious law) should take their places side 
by side in a good Mohammedan country — not in the sense inculcated 
by the Moslim law-books '), that they should fall back on the adat 
whenever the hukom is silent or directs them to do so — , but in such 
a way that a very great portion of their lives is governed by adat and 
only a small part by hukom. They are well aware that the ulamas -) 
often complain of the excessive influence of the adat and of its conflict 
with the kitabs or sacred books, but they do not forget that they 
have themselves cause to complain of the ambition of these ulamas. 
They account for this conflict by the natural passion all men feel for 
extending their authority, a passion they believe would be reduced to 
a minimum or altogether extinguished if all men tried to be just. They 
see herein no conflict between Mohammedan and non-Mohammedan 
elements, but between Moslim rulers who "maintain the adat" accord- 
ing to the will of God, and Moslim pandits who "expound the hukom", 
both of which parties, however, sometimes overstep their proper limits. 

They have no touchstone to distinguish exactly between what is in 
accordance with Islam and what conflicts therewith. All their institu- 
tions they regard as those of a Mohammedan people and thus also 
Mohammedan, and these they wish to guard against the encroachments 
of the kufir \ 

That Mr. Der Kinderen and his friends found "no trace of popular 
customs in conflict with Islam" or of "a customary law having its 
existence in the consciousness of the people", is as natural as the 
disappointment of an angler who tries to catch salmon in a wash-tub. 
They exist all the same, these adats, they control the political and 
social life of Achch, but — pace all dogmatic jurists and champions 
of facile methods — they are nowhere to be found set down in black 
and white. We arrive at them only after painstaking and scientific 
research and not through the putting of questions which the ciuestioiied 
"apparently do not understand". 

To be explicit and avoid all misunderstanding, we should add that 
Mr. Der Kinderen in a later part of his memorandum (pp. lo et seq.) 

1) And as the Afghan (1) specialist consulted by Mr. Der Kinderen asserted Id lie the 
case in regard to Aeheh. 

2) Religious pandits. ( Tiaiis/a/oi). 

3) Infidel. 


states the case as though this faithful observance of Mohammedan law 
had existed originally in Acheh at an earlier epoch, while the few 
adats conflicting therewith had crept in later on during the period 
of anarchy and corruption. "The Achehnese chiefs", he goes on to 
say, "with whom we conferred, unanimously desired the maintenance 
of Islam and nothing more". 

We shall see later on, when we come to examine the question in 
detail, that this comparison between an orderly past resting on the 
basis of the Mohammedan law and a disorderly present, is entirely 
chimerical and rests on false or inexactly stated data. These premisses 
for instance are false, that in earlier times many works on Mohammedan 
law were composed by Achehnese, that general ignorance now prevails 
as to the contents of these or that the wholly unlettered Teuku Malikon 
Ade was supreme judge of the kingdom of Acheh. The ignorance of 
the chiefs in regard to Mohammedan law is wrongly explained ; it is 
in fact an ignorance which they share with the rulers of most Moham- 
medan countries. 

We postpone for the present the closer refutation of these extra- Nature of the 

vagances. Let us now fix our attention on the fact that the non- pjji[,jj,^l"jjj_ 

Mohammedan institutions of the Achehnese, which we are now about »(''"•'""* of 

to describe, and which taken together form a well-rounded whole, 

exhibit themselves to the scientific observer after comparison with 
those of other kindred peoples, as really indigenous and wholly suitable 
to the state of civilization in which the Achehnese have moved as 
long as we have known them. In vain sliall we seek for any period in 
the history of Acheh in which we should be justified in surmising the 
existence of a different state of things. All that we know further of 
that history makes it patent that neither the efforts of the ulamas to 
extend the influence of the Mohammedan law, nor the edicts of certain 
princes whose authority over the interior was very limited and of sliort 
duration, were able to e.xercise more than a partial or passing influence 
on the genuinely national and really living unwritten laws. 

The golden age of Acheh in which "the Mohammedan law prevailed" 
(see p. 1 6 of Mr. Der Kinderen's memorandum), or in which the Adat 
Meukuta Alain may be regarded as the fundamental law of the king- 
dom, belongs to the realms of legend. If we wish to become acquainted 
with the institutions of Acheh we must, in default of any written 
sources of information, devote ourselves to the study of their political 


and judicial systems and family life as they subsist at the present time. 
In these we can easily discover some traces of the centralizing activity 
of one or two powerful princes, an important measure of influence 
exercised by Islam and a still more important basis of indigenous 
adat law. 

It must be borne in mind that even the most primitive societies and 
the laws that govern them never remain stationary. Keeping this in 
view it becomes easy to trace here and there efforts after change, and 
elsewhere again institutions which have already passed into disuse and 
owe their continued existence in a rudimentary form simply to the 
force of human conservatism. This makes us careful in forming judgments 
as to the antiquity of any given institution taken by itself, as we arc 
not fully acquainted with the factors which may in earlier times have 
exercised a modifying influence. Still we arc able with one glance over 
the whole existing customary law of Achch to assert without fear of 
error that the institutions of that country do not date from yesterday 
but that, (disregarding alterations in details), they have in all main 
essentials existed for centuries past. 

§ 2. Elements of Population. 

In y\cheh we have to deal, not with an originally powerful monarchy 
which gradually split up into small parcels, but with a number of little 
states barely held together by the community of origin of their citizens 
and the nominal supremacy of the port-king. We must obviously there- 
fore, in describing the political fabric of Acheh, work upwards from 
below; and as in that country all authority of the higher classes over 
the lower is exceedingly limited, we must first devote our attention 
to the people who inhabit Great Acheh '). 
Origin of the We have at our disposal no single historical datum from which we 
Achchncse. ^^^^ deducc any likely conclusion as to the origin of the Achehnesc. 
We can only allege on various grounds that it must have been of a 
very mixed description. 

l) We find in Van I.angen's Atjehsch Slaatsbcstuur pp. 384 — 389 some of the native 
traditions and conjectures respecting the origin of the nation. The writer's efforts to reduce 
these data to one conip.aet whole, seem not justifialile in view of the small reliance that 
can be jilaced in them. 


A comparison of the Achehnese language (which exhibits noteworthy 
points of difference from the kindred tongues of neighbouring peoples), 
with those of Cham and Bahnar ^) has at the very outset given im- 
portant results, but we must for the present refrain from deciding what 
may be deduced therefrom as regards the kinsiiip or historical con- 
nection between the peoples. 

Of the information supplied by the Achehnese themselves as to their 
descent, we furnish here only such particulars as may be classed as 
popular tradition. Outside the limits of this tradition every Achehnese 
chief and ulama who takes any interest in the question has his own con- 
jectures, partly in conflict with the traditions and partly grafted on to them. 

To the sphere of these conjectures belongs almost all that can be Achehnese 
gathered from the Achehnese as to the Hindu element in their origin. <=o"es. 
It is past all doubt that Hinduism exercised for a considerable time a 
direct or indirect influence on the language and civilization of Acheh, 
though there is but little trace of such influence remaining in her 
present popular traditions and institutions. Even in Mohammedan times 
there are numerous indications of contact with the inhabitants of India; 
it is indeed more than probable that Acheh, like other countries of 
the Indian Archipelago, was mohammedanized from Hindostan. Not 
only Mohammedan Klings and people from Madras and Malabar, but 
also heathen Klings, Chetties -) and other Hindus, have carried on 
trade in Acheh down to the present time, and there has been from 
first to last no serious opposition to the permanent establishment in 
the country of such kajirs, harmless as they were from a political 
point of view. For all that, the question as to what Hindus or people 
with Hindu civilization ') they were, who exercised a special influence 
in Acheh, or what the period was when this influence made itself felt, 
remains enveloped in doubt. Still less is it certain in what degree 
Hindu blood flows in the veins of the Achehnese. 

1) See '^Bijdragc tot de kennls der verhoudlng van het Tjam tot de taleii van Iiidonesie" 
by G. K. Niemann in the Bijdragen 7'aii hct fCon. Inst, voor de Taal-.^ Land- en Volken- 
kunde van Nedcrlandsch Indie for 1891 at the Hague p. 27 et seq., and the Bibliographi- 
sche Bijdragen at the same place p. 339 et seq. 

2) The money-lending caste of Southern India. (^Translator). 

3) Compare again the treatise of G. K. Niemann quoted above, p. 44. The theory of 
van Langen cited by him, according to which the kawom of the Imeum peiiet is of Hindu 
origin, does not rest on popular tradition, but must be ranked among the learned conjectures 
of certain of the Achehnese. 


How these conjectures sometimes originate and gain credit in 
Acheh may be illustrated by an experience of my own in that country. 
The well-known Teungku Kutakarang, an ulama and leader in war [died 
November 1895] upholds, among other still more extraordinary notions, 
the view that the Achehnese are composed of elements derived from 
three peoples, the Arabs, the Persians and the Turks. Both in conversation 
and in his fanatical pamphlets against the "Gompeuni" he constantly 
refers to this theory. 

Though he lias absolutely no grounds for this absurd idea, those 
who look up to him as a great scholar think that he must have a 
good foundation for it, and accept his ethnological theories without 
hesitation. While I was engaged in collecting Achehnese writings and 
was making special efforts to secure copies of one or two epic poems 
based on historic facts, an Achehnese chief suggested to me that I 
should not find what I wanted in these. He declared himself ready to 
write me out a short abstract of the history of Acheh containing a 
clear account of the origin of the Achehnese from Arab, Persian and 
Turkish elements! "Of this", said he, "you will find no mention in the 
poems you seek for". 

The only fact that popular wisdom can point to as regards the 
Hindus, is that the inhabitants of the highlands of the interior are 
manifestly of Hindu origin, since they wear their hair long and twist 
it into a top-knot {sanggoy) on the back of the head in the Hindu 
Mante. There are other stories in circulation about the Mante or Mantras '), 
but these are equally undependable. They remind me of what I once 
heard said of the tailed Uyaks reputed to exist in Borneo ; the 
existence of these people, my informant remarked, appeared quite 
probable from what one heard of them all over Borneo, but they 
always seem to live one day further inland from the point reached by 
the traveller. 

These Mantes are supposed to go naked and to have the whole of 
their bodies thickly covered with hair, and are believed to inhabit 
the mountains of the XXH Mukims; but all our informants know them 
only by hearsay. One here and there will tell you that in his grand- 
father's time a pair of Mantes, man and wife, were brought captive to 

l) Sec also Van Langen's Aljehsch Slaatsbesluur pp. 384 — 85. 


tlie Sultan of Achcli. These wild denizens of the woods, however, in 
spite of all efforts, refused either to speak or eat and finally starved 
themselves to death. 

In Achehnese writings and also in the speech of everyday life, 
rough clownish and awkward people are compared with the Mante. 
The word is also used in the lowlands as a nickname for the less 
civilized highlanders, and is applied in the same sense to the people 
of mixed descent on the West Coast. 

Another contemptuous appellation of the West Coast people is Malay and 

Kling ele- 

ancu' jamee (descendants of strangers or guests), or aneu Raiva, (people mcnts. 
from the province of Rawa), to which latter nickname the epithet 
"tailed" {meuikit) is also added '). That these tailed or tail-less strangers 
contributed their quota to the composition of the Achehnese race is 
as little doubted as that the multitude of Klings (A7t'«^, ureiii'iig dagang-) 
in Great Acheh and on the East Coast have brought more half-caste 
progeny into the world than now commands recognition as such. There 
have been within the memory of man a large number of Klings in the 
highlands of Great Acheh (XXII Mukims) living entirely as Achehnese 
and engaged in agriculture. There were even gampongs, such as Lam 
Alieng, the entire population of which consisted of such hybrid Klings. 
In Great-Acheh the word /ireui^ngdagangz= stranger is employed with- 
out any further addition to indicate a Kling. 

The shares contributed by all these foreign elements and also the 
Arabs, Egyptians and Javanese are rightly regarded as having a merely 
incidental influence on the Achehnese race. In the capital and the coast 
towns of tributary states, they form an item of greater importance, for 
it is precisely the most influential families that are of foreign origin. 
All the holy men and most of the noted scholars of the law in Acheh 
were foreigners. So too with many great traders, shahbandars, writers 
and the trusted agents of princes and chiefs; nay, the very line of 
kings which has ruled with some interruptions since 1723 is according 
to tradition of Bugis origin. 

Slaves are a factor of importance in the development of the Acheh- Nias slaves, 
nese race. Most of these slaves come from Nias (Nieh), whence they 

1) There is a play on the common meaning of the word riiva = the tail of an Acheh- 
nese kite. 

2) Mai. "orang dagang", a stranger, foreigner. {Tiaiis/alor). 


were kidnapped in luiiulrcds up to a few years ago, and are still 
surreptitiously purchased in smaller numbers. 

It is worthy of note that the story current in Acheh as to the 
origin of the Niasese resembles that which prevails among the Javanese 
as to the Kalangs '). The same story in a modified form is popular 
in Bantcn, but in the absence of Kalangs it is there applied to the Dutch. 

A princess who suffered from a horrible skin-disease was for this 
cause banished to Nii'h (Achehnese pronunciation of Nias), with only 
a dog to bear her company. On that island she found many pcundang 
plants, and gradually became acquainted with the curative properties 
of the peundang root *). 

It is not clearly stated what the circumstances were which induced 
her to marry her dog ^) ; but we are informed that from this wedlock 
a son was born. When he grew up he wished to marry; but Nias was 
uninhabited. His mother gave him a ring to guide him in his search 
for a bride ; the first woman he met whom the ring fitted was to be 
his destined wife. 

He wandered throughout the whole island without meeting a single 
woman ; finally he found his mother again and the ring fitted her ! So 
they wedded and from this incestuous union is descended the whole 
population of Nias. 

In this legend typifying the vileness of the origin of the Niasese 
there is wanting one feature which characterizes the Javanese myth of 
the Kalangs. Both have in common the dog and the incestuous mar- 
riage, but the Kalangs have in addition to this as their ancestress the 
most unclean of all animals, the swine. The princess who lived in the 
wilderness is in the Kalang legend the offspring of a wild sow, which 
became her mother in a miraculous manner ■*). 

1) See Veth's Java, III, p. 580 ct seq.; a version of the story of which I made notes 
in Bagelen differs somewhat from that of Prof. Veth's authorities. Wc find the same story 
elsewhere also in more or less modified form; see for instance the Tijdschrift van hct 
Bataviaasch Genootschap vol. XXIV pp. 257 — 8 and 421 et seq. 

2) The Achehnese derive from Nias their knowledge of the highly prized peuiidaiig treatment. 

3) In the Javanese story the princess drops her shuttle while weaving and being disin- 
clined to rise, she swears an unlucky oath, that whoever should pick up her trofong should 
wed her. The dog hastened to fetch the shuttle and thus became her husband. 

4) Ratu Baka rex, ut aiunt, quondam venando fatigatus, dum quietis causS consistebat, 
in corticem nucis coconensis minxit, quo facto corticem in terram deposuit. Nee tamen 
urina solum, sed etiam semen virile in vasculo manebat, quod cum forte sus fera bibisset 
fcta facta est et filiara peperit. 

Thus although no swine appears in the genealogical legend as form- 
ing part of the family tree of the Niasese, the story goes that they 
are the descendants of dogs and swine, and there is a doggerel verse 
in ridicule of the Niasese or persons of mixed Nias descent which runs 
as follows; — 

"■Nii'h kiimudee — iirbe bee buy, malum bee asee" i. e. "Niasese, that eats 
bengkudu fruits '), smells like a pig in the daytime and like a dog 
at night". 

In spite of all these sayings and stories (to which may be added the 
fact that kui'ab or ringworm is still very prevalent among the Niasese), 
the Achehnese set a high value on these people as slaves. They de- 
scribe them as tractable, obedient, zealous and trustworthy. The women 
are more highly prized for their beauty than those of the dominant 
race, and many of the boys who as sadati (dancers) or otherwise are 
made to minister to the unnatural lusts of the Achehnese are of Niasese 

Later on when we come to describe the family life of the Achehnese, 
we shall see that he lays great stress on descent from the mother's 
side. Thus no Achehnese willingly becomes the father of children by 
his female slaves, although such a practice is freely admitted by 
Moslim law. It is for this reason that the intercourse of masters with 
their female slaves is very limited in comparison with other Moham- 
medan countries, and where it does take place, recourse is had to 
various methods to avert or nullify its natural consequences. All the 
same there is a certain proportion of children born of such con- 

There are, however, other channels through which Niasese blood 
has found its way into the veins of the Achehnese. For instance it 
not uncommonly occurs that a man who makes a long stay in a 
particular place, marries the slave of one of his friends or patrons. It 
even happens at times that an Achehnese makes such a marriage at 
or in the neighbourhood of his own home, setting at defiance the 
reproaches and hatred of his next of kin for the sake of the beauty 
of the woman he has chosen. 

l) These fruits are eaten by the Achehnese after being made into rujaq (chinichali) or 
boiled with aren-juice and sugar. The Niasese are fond of them in the raw state. Another 
saying is '^NUh kumiid'cc ■ — bic' hann malce" i. e. "Niasese, lover of the bfingkudu-fruit, 
race that is ashamed of nothing". 

According to the IMoslim law children born of such unions arc the 
slaves . of the owner of the mother, for when the question is one of 
slavery or freedom the children follow the mother as a matter of 
course. The Achehnese adat, on the other hand, treats them as free; 
but their origin is indicated by the name aueu' iiicuih ("children of 
gold", i. c. of proprietorship), and thus not at once lost sight of. A 
generation or two later the name ancn" inciuli is dropped, and their 
descendants become Achehnese. 

Children born of marriages between slaves (generally of the same 
master) are themselves slaves in Acheh ; but many owners set their 
slaves free in later life. Such free Niasese d<i not except in rare cases 
intermarry with Achehnese women; their children, however, may take 
wives of mixed Achehnese and Niasese descent, and in the third gene- 
ration they too are Achehnese, though with a slight Nias taint. 

Those who can only keep one or two male slaves generally let these 
remain unmarried their whole life long, the supposition being that 
they will find frequent opportunities of intercourse with their own 

The Achehnese arc on their own confession indolent and little fitted 
for regular work. This is the reason they give for the occasional im- 
portation of rice into a country possessing vast tracts of uncultivated 
ground '). There is no doubt that in days gone by they used to get 
their work done for them by the Niasese. Not only did they employ 
them for ordinary tillage and for pepper cultivation, but also as soldiers in 
the endless little wars that divided the country against itself. Thus it is said 
that during the civil war of 1854 — 58 of between Raja Suloyman (Suleman) 
and his guardian Raja Ibrahim ^), the supporters of the latter in particular 
usually employed Niasese to carry out all operations against the enemy. 
Bataks. In comparison with the Niasese, the number of slaves of other races 
in Acheh is inconsiderable. Male Bataks ^) (but very seldom females) 

1) Before the war this importation seems to have been very limited: but it of course 
increased greatly when most of the padi fields had long lain untilled. 

2) .See Van Langen's Atjehsch Staatsbestutir p. 397. The war was of small importance 
and little blood was spilt. A very correct estimate of the weight to be attached to civil 
wars in Acheh will be found in the "-Aljeh en de Atjehers" of J. A. Kruyt (p. 144). 

3) Most of these are imported from Singkel and Trumon. The Achehnese distinguish the 
Bala'' Kar'ee (= k'arau') as being the wildest and most vicious. Hence they apply this as 
a nickname of evil import to all Bata's, including the />'«/«' Pa^pa\ the Jiala' Tuba and 

ythc Bata" Maloylieng (Mandailing). 


are occasionally kept as slaves, but the character given them is as 
bad as that of the Niasese is good. The Bataks are spoken of as un- 
willing, lazy and revengeful. Every Achehncse can furnish plentiful 
examples of this either from his own experience or what he has heard 
from others — how one Batak has treacherously murdered his master 
through anger at a trifling chastisement, and another after having been 
treated with the utmost kindness has made himself scarce after putting 
his masters children to death, and so on '). 

Some few persons of position have permitted themselves the luxury Other ele- 
of importing Chinese female slaves from the Straits Settlements as ""^° ^' 
concubines ^). Still more common is it to see slaves brought home from 
Mekka by those who have performed the Hajj. These Africans are 
known by the Achehnese under the generic name of Abeiisi ^) (Abys- 
sinians) irrespectively of what may be the land of their birth. Concu- 
binage with female slaves of such origin is extremely rare ; they are 
allowed to marry among themselves or with Niasese slaves. It is con- 
sidered a mark of distinction to have such Abcusis as household servants *). 

As we noticed above, the Achehnese slave-law is not wanting in .Achehncse 
departures from the Mohammedan code. To these may be added the '^ ^^'^' ^^^' 
fact that it is everywhere thought natural and permissible for all who 
acquire slaves at once to violate their female captives. Even in Arabia 
the prescribed period of abstention in regard to purchased female slaves 
is seldom or never observed ''), but in Acheh no disgrace whatever 
attaches to its violation, and most of the transgressors are absolutely 
ignorant that they are sinning against that very law which they look 
upon as sanctioning kidnapping. 

In the highlands far fewer slaves are kept than in the lowlands, as 
in the former there is less to be found of all that tends to make life 
easy or pleasant. 

i) Very few Bataks find their way to the Straits Settlements but those who do bear out 
the character here given of them. I have seen two very bad cases of amok by Hataks in 
I'enang, apparently originating from quite trilling and inadequate motives (^Traiisla/or). 

2) As to the slave trade in the Straits see my article on "■SklavenhanJel in Singapore" 
in the Zcilschrift dcr deutschen morgenldndischen Gesellsckaft^ 189I1 P- 395 et seq. 

3) The word "Habshi" is similarly used in Malaya to designate all .African negroes 
( Translator). 

4) There still lives at Ulee Lheue (Olehleh) a freed Circassian slave, formerly the 
property of Habib Abdurrahman, who also imported Hindus as slaves into Acheh. Such 
cases are, however, rare. 

5) See my Mekka vol. 11, p. 135. 


What has been said suffices to indicate the races which have in 

historic times contributed to ennoble or degrade the people of Acheh. 

Apart from this we must accept that people as an established unity, and 

conjectures regarding its remoter origin would at this point be premature. 

liiyhlandcis Tlic pcopic of tlic various divisions of (jreat Acheh differ from one 

and low- 

landers, another, as may well be imagined, in numerous local peculiarities of 
language, manners, superstition, dress etc. Most of these local distinc- 
tions, when compared with the agreement in essential features are too 
insignificant to be noticed here. We should however note the differences 
between the highlanders {tireji'eng tiinbng), by which must be especially 
understood the people of the Sagi of the XXII Mukims, and the low- 
landers {iireucng baroli) who inhabit the greater part of the two re- 
maining sagis, including the capital. 

Some portions of these last two sagis have almost the same language 
and customs as the itrcii'eng timb?tg, as for instance the iireueng Bu'eng 
inhabiting the VII Mukims Bueng ') in the Sagi of the XXVI Mukims. 
Banda and As regards language and manners the lowlanders have followed the 
people of the capital -). The Dalam or residence of the Sultan, which 
we incorrectly term Kraton, and which is also known as Kuta Raja 
or "the king's fort" (a name which we improperly apply to the whole 
capital) formed before our war with Acheh the nucleus of a number 
of fine and prosperous gampongs. The centre of these with its mosque 
and market-place was called Banda Acheh i. e. the capital or trading 
mart of Acheh, and gave the tone to the whole country in matters 
of custom, dress etc. The most important of these gampongs were 
Gampong Jawa, Pande, PeunayTmg, Lam Bhu , Lu'eng Bata, Lam Seu- 
peii'eng, Ateiimg, Batoh and Alcura'sa. The inhabitants of these and 
the neighbouring villages together with their language and customs 
were distinguished by the epithet banda, that is, town-bred or civilized, 
and the people of other districts who conformed as much as possible 
to the tone of the capital enjoyed the same title. In contrast with 
these, all others who spoke in their own local dialects and were un- 
acquainted with the manners of the town, were called diisTrn (like dttsttn 
in Sundanese) i. e. countrified, uncivilized. From their position the low- 

1) The word bu'eng itself belongs to their peculiar dialect. It means "swamp" which in 
other parts of Acheh is known as paya. 

2) Cf. my essay Stiidien over Atjehschc klatik- en sehrifllcei- in the Tijdschrift van 
het Batav. Gcnooischap^ vol. XXXV, p. 365. 


landers in general came most closely into contact with the influence 
of the trading centre, whilst ureneng dusnn and iireucng Tunbng became 
practically synonymous; but with this distinction, that families of 
standing in the Tunong conformed as far as possible to the manners 
of the capital, whilst in the more distant of the lowland districts the 
influence of the Banda Acheh is scarcely traceable. 

§ 3. Dress, Food, Luxuries, Dwellings and Household 


In dress and deportment to begin with, there is a diflerence between Clothing, 
the true Tunong folk and those of the lowland districts '). 

The peculiar Achehnese trousers {siluetie or liietic Achcli) of prodi- 
gious width are characteristic of both, and both alike regard the 
fullness in the fork of this garment as an indication of Mohammedan 
dress in contradistinction with the tight forks of the trousers of in- 
fidels. Those worn by the lowlanders on the other hand are longer, 
and the materials most in use diff"er from those employed in the 
Tunong. The loin-cloth {ija pinggatig) is similarly in the eyes of both 
a shibboleth of Islam, as it is only infidels that feel no shame in ex- 
hibiting themselves in close-fitting trousers without further covering of 
the space between navel and knee. But while the Tunong man lets 
his loincloth hang down to below the knees with a flap in the centre, 
with the lowlander it barely extends to just above the knees and its 
lower edge is aslant. 

The lowlanders usually wear bajus or jackets (bajie), either the baje'e 
Acheh *) with long narrow sleeves and a big gold button {dnma) in 
the middle, or the bajce "^et sapay (short-sleeved baju) the do" ma of 
which is at the neck. The highlanders make comparatively little use 
of this garment and wear in its place simply a kerchief {ijd) thrown 
over the shoulder or fastened round the middle or else laid on the 

i) The best data as regards Achehnese dress are to be found in Van Langen's Atjeli's 
Westkust in the Tijdschrift v. h. Ncderl. Aardrijksk. Genootschap 2nd series, vol. V. p. 447 
et seq. For an account of the Achehnese weapons see the same, p. 450, J. A. Kruyt's 
Atjeh en de Aijehcrs p. 56 and the NotuUn van hct Balav. Genootschap 1892 appx II. 1. 

2) Usually of cloth {sukaleuef) or other European materials which are known as ktilit 
kayie (= bark). 


head. The head, however, is not always covered, for the Achchnese 
carry loads almost exclusively thereon, which method of transport they 
call sciidn. 


The usual form of headgear is the kiipiah '), which greatly resem- 
bles the Mekka cap in colour. The body of the cap, which is cylindrical 
in shape, is made of close-pressed tree-cotton divided into narrow 
vertical ribs by stitching on the lining. On this thin strips of silk or 
cotton stuffs of various colours are worked together in such a manner 

l) These are made by the Achehnese women themselves and are of finer quality than 
those of Mekka. The price of a kupiah varies from 7 — 12 dollars. 


as to give the impression when seen from a distance of a piece of 
coarse European worsted-work. Between these ribs is often fastened 
gold thread spreading at the top into ornamental designs. The centre 
of the crown is adorned with a prettily-shaped knot of gold or silver 
thread. In contradistinction to the Mekka cap, which is much lower 
in the crown, the Achchnese call theirs kiipiah nieukeutob ; a kerchief 
is sometimes wound round its lower edge as turban {tangkulo'), but it 
is just as often left uncovered. The highlander draws his long hair 
into a knot on the top of his head, and covers it with his cap, while 
the lowlander, if he do not shave his head from pious motives, lets his 
hair hang down loose on his neck from beneath it. In the lowland 
districts, too, the single headcloth or tangkulo is more worn than in 
the Tunong, and as in Java the origin of the wearer may be inferred 
from the manner of folding it. The prevailing fashion in such matters 
is however very liable to change. During my stay in Acheh a new 
method of wearing the headcloth was in vogue amongst the younger 
men. It was carried forward in the form of a cornucopia, a fashion said 
to have been set by the young pretender to the sultanate. 

The reunchong or rinchong, a dagger with one sharp edge, and the 
bungkoih ranub or folded kerchief are alike indispensable to the 
Achehnese when he walks abroad. In the latter are placed all requisites 
for betel-leaf chewing, in ornamental and often costly little boxes or cases. 
Its four corners are held together by gold or copper b'ok rii '), and it also 
forms the receptacle of sundry pretty little toilet requisites, keys etc. 

Persons of position or those who are going on a journey carry in 
addition the Achehnese sword [sikin panyang) which is the ordinary 
weapon used in fighting. It is of uniform width from end to end, and 
is placed in a sheath. The gliwang (klewang) which is carried for show 
by the followers of chiefs, or taken on expeditions to market or nightly 
ualks in the gampong, is worn without a sheath. 

The Tunong folk take with them on a journey in addition to the 
above, two javelins {kapa) and a spear {tninba), as well as a firearm 
of some description ^). 

The dress of the women, while in the main identical in the Tunong 

1) This is an acorn-shaped ornament perforated from end lo end with a hole through 
which the tips of the bungkoih are passed. 

2) Weapons are now only worn by a few of the chiefs, the carrying of arms being as a 
rule forbidden by government. 


and Baroh, presents one or two points of difference. In both districts 
tlicy wear over the Achehnese trousers an ija pini^gui'g, but in the 


lowlands this hangs down to the feet, while in the highland districts 
it comes hardly lower than that of the men. Women in general wear 
a bajee, but its sleeves are comparatively narrower in the Tunong, and 
the edging {kenreityay) at neck and sleeves is more ornamental in the 
lowlands. A cloth {ija sazva) is thrown over the shoulders in the same 
way as the Javanese slendang or scarf. The women of the lowlands 
use another cloth [ija tob ttlce) of the same description to cover the 
head when going out of doors. Locks of hair (latnd'c) are generally 
worn hanging in front of both ears. The chignon {sanggoy) is among 
the lowland women placed on the centre of the crown, and divided 
into two portions suggesting a pair of horns '), while the Tunong 
women either carry the topknot entirely to one side, or let it hang 
down behind in the form of a sausage ^). 

1) This fashion is called mcukipa'ih China = "like a Chinese fan". 

2) The Achehnese call this mnboh guda = "horse's pizzle". 


The remaining articles of personal adornment exhibit few differences. 
Girls and women who have not yet had more than one child, wear 


armlets and anklets {gleu'eng jar be and gakt) made of siiasa, which are 
forged on to their limbs ; also chain bracelets of silver or suasa on 
their arms {talbe jaroe). On their necks they have metal collars, the 
separate portions of which closely resemble the almost circular boh ru 
on the four corners of the betel-leaf kerchief, and necklaces hanging 
down over the breast {srapi) composed of small diamond-shaped gold 
plates. In their ears they wear large sitbaugs (earrings) of gold or of 
buffalo-horn with a little piece of gold in the centre, by the weight 
of which the holes pierced in the ears are gradually widened to the 

greatest possible extent. Round the waist, either next the skin or over 
the ija /'inj^gang they wear a chain formed of several layers {taloe 
kiieng) fastened in front with a handsome clasp {peundcng) '); and on 
their fingers a number of rings (eunchicn or nchi'dn). 
Food. In the remaining material necessaries of life also, the chief distinction 
between the Tiiiibiig and the Baroli lies in the fact that the high- 
landers are more frugal and simple in their requirements. We need 
not here go into exact details. The staple form of food, eaten twice 
a tlay at 8 — g a. m. and at 5 — 6 p. m., is rice (lui) well cooked in 
water. With the rice is taken giilc (the sayiir of the Malays), of which 
there are three kinds in common use; i". giili.' iiiasmn keucu'cng (half- 
sour, half-pungent gidc) consisting of leaves or fruits ^) boiled in water 
mixed with onions, pepper, chilis (champli), salt, broken rice and as 
sour constituents boh slimeng (blimbing) or siinti; 2**. gulc Icuma (rich 
gulc, from the cocoanut milk used in preparing it). With this is mixed 
a larger quantity of fragrant herbs, (such as halia or ginger and .?/'«/(•); 
its basis is either dried fish ') {cuiigkot tliTi) or karhig (small fish of 
the kinds bilch or aivo, also dried), or the stockfish imported from the 
Maldives {keiuiiainaili) or sliced plantains or brinjals. The sour elements 
are the same as in i". above. Teunicnruy leaves are also frequently 
mi.xed with it, and cocoanut milk [santan] is an indispensable ingre- 
dient. 3°. Guli pi II {gulc of decayed cocoanut). In this the sour elements 
and herbs are the same as in the other kinds, but an important ad- 
ditional ingredient is rotten cocoanut, from which the oil has been 
expressed; also some unripe nangka or jackfruit {boh panaili), unripe 
plantain, dry fish and karcng. 

Besides rice and vegetables a principal article of food with the 
Achehnese is the stockfish {keuinamaili) imported in large quantities 
from the Maldives. This is prepared in two different ways; i". Keii- 
niamaih cheiinichah ; *) the kciDuaiiiinh is cut up into small pieces and 

1) Compare the notes on tlie liiicbl toilet in our description of marriage (Cliapter 111). 

2) The leaves or fruits most comiilonly used are on mii/img^ boh imilieng^ on mtito/ig 
and black or red lioh trucng. 

3) This includes dried fish of the large varieties, not the stockfish (J;euiiiaiiiaili) of the 
Maldives or the kareng. 

4) The verb chichah has reference to the pounding up of fruits etc. and the mixing up 
of the whole in the compost called rujaq, which is also known to the Achehnese by the 
name chiunichah or cliinichah. 


with these are mixed ripe slinicng (bhmbing) ') pounded fine, chiUs, 
onions and sreiic (serai) ^) ; 2". kcuviamaih reundang or tiuneh, the in- 
gredients of which differ little from those just described, but which is 
not eaten raw but fried in oil. 

A fourth article of food, which is greatly relished by the Achehnese 
is boiled fresh fish from the sea or the rivers (emigkot teunagu'en). To 
this is added a considerable quantity of the juice of various sorts of 
limes (e. g. boh nmnteue, kru'et, kiiyu'ev, makcn and sreng), with chilis 
and various savoury herbs. The whole is set on the fire in a pot with 
water, and not taken off until the water boils. 

At kanduris (religious feasts) and suchlike occasions glutinous rice 
{hu kunyl't) coloured yellow with turmeric is a favourite dish. To this 
are always added either tump'ov (a sort of pancakes, si.x or seven of 
which are laid on top of the rice) and cheuneurmt, a gelatinous network 
formed of the same kind of rice, or else grated cocoanut mixed with 
red sugar (« mirali), or long strips of stockfish boiled in cocoanut 
milk, called keumamaih teunagu'en. 

At weddings, funeral feasts, receptions of distinguished guests and 
other ceremonious occasions, it is customary to serve up the rice and 
its accessories in a definite traditional manner on dalnngs or trays. 
This manner of service is called meiiidang, and we shall have occasion 
to notice it more fully later on. An adjunct of every idang, after the 
rice, fish and gule, is the tray of sweetmeats, containing a dish of 
glutinous rice {bu leiikat), this time without turmeric, and a dish of 
pisang peungat — ripe plantains sliced thin and boiled with cloves, 
cinnamon, sugar and some pandan-leaves. To these is often added 
srbykaya — eggs with cocoanut milk and herbs well cooked by steaming. 

Fruits (boh kaye'e) are constantly eaten, but do not form the special 
accessories of any feast. After a funeral those who are present at the 
burial ground eat plantains and such other fruits as are for sale in the 

Sweetmeats are called peunajnh (which properly means simply „vic- 
tuals"), and are as in Java very various in form and name ■*), though 

1) The blimbing is an acid fruit (one of the Oxalidaceje) growing on a tree of moderate 
size. It is very popular with the Malays as a relish or sambal in curry. ( Translator). 

2) Serai is Malay for the lemon-grass, .\ndropogon Schoenanthus. (^Translator). 

3) All that goes with the rice is called lawan bu or tcumon bu. 

4) For instance boy., haltia Meuseukat., fasisa., Jdy-ddy.^ peunajoh tlio., halua «, halua 


they differ but little in actual ingredients. The constituents of these 
arc almost always grated cocoanut or cocoanut milk, glutinous rice or 
flour made therefrom, sugar and certain herbs, eggs and oil. They are 
eaten at odd times and are only set before guests when (as for 
example at recitations of the Quran) they are assembled for hours 
together, so that a single great meal is insufficient to while away the 
time. On such occasions tea and coffee are also served, though the 
use of these beverages is generally restricted to invalids. 

Small kanduris or religious feasts arc of very common occurrence. 
At these yellow glutinous rice forms the piece de resistance, though a 
goat is sometimes slaughtered for the guests. Otherwise buffaloes, oxen, 
goats and sheep are seldom killed except at the great annual festivals 
or in fulfilment of a vow. 
Luxuries. The use of the betel-leaf [ranub) with its accessories [pineung, gapu, 
gambe '), bakong and sundry odoriferous herbs) is absolutely universal. 
Many both in the highland and lowland districts make an intemperate 
use of opium, but to nothing like the same extent as in the colonies 
of pepper-planters on the East and West Coasts, where all the vices 
of the Achehncse reach their culminating point. The prepared opium 
or chandu is smoked [piUb) from the ordinary opium-pipes {go cliandu) 
with the aid of little lamps called panybt. In the days of Habib Ab- 
durrahman and similar religious zealots, the smoking went on only in- 
doors and by stealth. The opium-sheds {jambo chandu) which certain 
persons in the more distant plantations had built in order to enjoy 
this luxury in company, were burnt down by that sayyid. 

On the West Coast especially, the practice of smoking opium in 
company still prevailed, and was marked by some characteristic customs. 
The votaries of the habit sit together in a prescribed position, and 
the pipe passes round. P^ach must in his turn take two pulls so strong 
as to extinguish the lamp; he then hands the pipe to his right-hand 
neighbour with a seuinbah or respectful salute. The opium used in such 

meugeunta^ haltia fisang^ hahia Uungong^ halua pnlot^ seupet kiiet, kiila'knn, seusagon etc. 
Sweetmeats and cakes unsuited for keeping are called by the collective name of dabeiieh 
fctikan^ i. e. "market-wares", even though home made. The following are some of them ; 
bada keutila^ bada pisang^ gula la\ gula tart^ karang seumot^ keukardih^ blita talam^ boh 
rdm-rom^ eungkuy^ chtttoy^ kripet^ apam, sroykaya^ putu^ tape. This list shows that there is 
no lack of variety. 

l) Hetel-nut, lime and g.imbir. These three with the pungent betel-leaf (sirih) form the 
"quid" of the Malays. {Translator). 


assemblages is mixed with tobacco or other leaves and is called madat '). 
The Achehnese (of course wrongly) try to associate this word with 
adat, and assert that it means "the smoking of opium in conformity with 
certain adat or customs". In Great-Acheh, however, such public opium- 
smoking has always been exceptional. Every opium-smoker, be he small 
or great, is sure to be known as such, yet he prefers to perpetrate the 
actual deed in the solitude of his inner chamber. 

Some Achehnese smoke opium in order, as they assert, to prolong 
the pleasure of coition. 

The use of strong drink, which usually degenerates into excess, is 
especially to be met with among the lowlanders, but is restricted to 
the upper classes or those who come much into contact with Europeans. 
For the ordinary Achehnese water is almost his only drink; occasion- 
ally he takes some sugarcane juice, squeezed out of the cane by means 
of a very primitive press. Hence it comes that ngbn blbeie teubee "to 
buy sugarcane juice" is the ordinary name for a douceur. 

It was an honoured tradition in Acheh that a member of the Sultan's 
family who had the reputation of being even a moderate opium-smoker 
should be excluded from the succession. Intoxicating liquors on the 
other hand were, as is well known, always to be found in the Dalam. 
I learned from a widow of Sultan Ibrahim Mansur Shah"), (1858 — 70) 
that the latter had once murdered his own child in a fit of drunken 
frenzy ^). 

The Achehnese colonists on the East and West Coasts who live 
there sometimes for years at a time in a society where there are no 
women, develop every vice of the nation to its highest pitch. The true 
highlanders are reputed not indeed more virtuous (for with them theft 
and robbery are the order of the day) but less weak and effeminate 
than the lowlanders. Among them opium, drink and unnatural crime 
exercise less influence than in the coast provinces. Unreasoning fana- 
ticism, contempt for all strangers and self conceit are all more strongly 
marked in the upper country than in the lowland districts, which have 

i) From the .\rabic JwV« = spiritual or bodily refreshment. It was at first used as an 
euphemistic expression for the prohibited drug. 

2) The Achehnese pronunciation is Manso Chah. 

3) The intemperate use of strong drink in the neighbourhood of the royal stronghold 
would appear to have assumed great proportions previous to the commencement of the 
Achehnese war. 


grown somewhat "civilized" through contact with foreigners. The 
highlandcrs esteem themselves (and the lowlanders do not deny it) 


braver men than their brethren of the two remaining "angles" {sagoi') 

of the country. A hero is in common speech as well as in literature, often 

spoken of as a/uu tiiiioiig knii'ng^'^dL son of the upper reaches of the river." 

The house ^" '^'^'-" arrangement of their dwellings there is but little dift'erence 

and Its between Tunong and Baroh. The plate and explanation given at the end 

equipment. i i o 

of this volume show clearly the principal features of the Achehnese 
dwelling-house '). It must be remembered that these houses are com- 

i) The drawing was made by Mr. M. Donk, and I owe the full explanatory notes to 
Mr. I.. J. C. van Es, Engineer. 


posed of citlier three or (as in the plate) five nwiiengs or divisions 
between the main rafters. In the first case the number of pillars sup- 
porting the main body of the house is i6, in the second 24. To form 
an idea of a house of three rueuengs it is only necessary to cut off 
from that depicted in the plate ail that lies to one side or the other 
of the central passage [ramlmt). 

It has further to be noted that the back verandah [srainbi' likot) 
sometimes also serves as kitchen, and in that case the extension of 
the house for this purpose as shown in our plate is omitted. The gable- 
ends always face East and West, so that the main door and the steps 
leading up to it must have a northerly or southerly aspect. 

Further additions are often made to the house on its East or West 
side, when the family is enlarged by the marriage of a daughter. These 
are as regards their floor-level (aleuii) tached on as annexes to the 
back verandah. Some new posts are set up along the side of the ver- 
andah to support an auxiliary roof, the inner edge of which projects 
from the edge of the main roof. Parents who are not wealthy enough 
to build for their daughters a separate house close by, retire, as far 
as their private life is concerned, into the temporary building we have 
just described [anjong) ') and leave the inside room (jiirci') to the 
young married couple. 

We shall now make a survey of the Achehnese house and its be- 
longings, not with the object of giving a full description of its subor- 
dinate parts (which may be found in the plate), or a complete inven- 
tory of all its equipment, but to show the part played by the various 
portions of the house in the lives of its inmates ^). 

Round about each dwelling is a court-yard, generally supplied with 
the necessary fruit-trees etc. and sometimes cultivated so as to deserve 
the name of a garden [lavipoih). Regular gardens, in which are planted 
sugarcane, betelnuts, cocoanuts etc., are sometimes to be found in this 
enclosure, sometimes in other parts of the gampong. The courtyard 
is surrounded by a strong fence [pageuv] through which a door leads 
out on to the narrow gampong-path iji/roiig); this in its turn leads 

1) The great saint of Acheh, a sayyid of the stock of Bilfaqih, whose tomb is in Gampong 
Jawa, is generally known as rciingkii Anjong owing to his having during his lifetime 
dwelt in a house which was separated from the neighbouring house by such an anjong. 

2) The description we give here is practically supplementary to that of Van Langen in 
the Tijiischiift van hct XeJ. Aardrijksk. Gcnootschap.^ second series, Vol. V. p. 450 et seq. 


through the gampong to the main road') (/v/), which runs througli rice- 
fields, gardens and uncultivated spaces, and unites one gampong with 
another. The whole gampong, like each courtyard, is surrounded with 
a fence. 

A good fence is generally formed of two rows of i^linidong or kcii- 
dundnng trees or the like, set at a uniform ilistaiice apart, leaving a slight 
intervening space which is filled with trii-ng or thorny bamboo. The 
two rows are united firmly together by bamboos fastened horizontally 
from tree to tree as crosspieces. There are usually from three to five 
of these cross bamboos in the length of the fence. 

Sometimes trees or bushes of other sorts which arc themselves fur- 
nished with thorns, such as the darch, are employed to fence in gardens, 
courtyards or gampongs. 

In many courtyards '-), as appears from what we have said above, 
more than a single dwelling house is to be found. As a rule each 
additional house is the habitation of one of the married daughters ot 
the same family or in any case belongs to women descended from the 
same ancestress. 

An indispensable item is the well [nibn), from wliich the women draw- 
water for household use in buckets [tiiiia) made of the spathe of the 
betel-palm [scutiic'), where they wash their clothes and utensils, bathe 
(so far as the uncleanly Achehnese deem it necessary to do so) and 
perform other needs. A gutter (salorau) carries off the water etc. to 
an earthenware conduit, which conducts both water and dung to a 
manure-heap {adi'ii or jcii'a) which is always very wet. Into this also 
falls by means of another gutter all the wet refuse that is thrown out 
from the back part of the house and kitchen. A screen [piipalang) 
shuts off those who are using the well from the gaze of the passers-by. 

The space underneath the house [yub moh or ynb riim'oh) serves as 
the receptacle of various articles. The jeungki or see-saw rice-pounder 
for husking rice; the keupT) '^), a space between four or six posts, sepa- 
rated off by a partition of plaited cocoanut leaves [blcmt) or similar 

1) The point of junction of the gampong-path with the main road is called habah il-t = 
mouth of the road. 

2) The part of the courtyard in front of tlie house is called /ciioi, that behind it likot 
or lihot moh (the last is short for riimoh) and the spaces at the sides of the two gal>les 

3) Sometimes, especially in the highlands, there are found in place of the kcupo^ more 
solidly constructed wooden storehouses (i/anda/ig) either under the house or close beside it. 


material thrown round the posts, and in which the newly harvested rice is 
kept till threshed, and the threshing itself takes place ; the ^'ro«^j, great 
tun-shaped barrels made of the bark of trees or plaited bamboo or 
rattan, wherein is kept the unhusked rice after threshing, which barrels 
are also sometimes placed in separate open buildings outside the house; 
the press {peimeurah) for extracting the oil ') from decayed cocoanuts 
[pi u), and a bamboo or wooden rack (prataih or paiiteiie) on which 
lies the firewood cleft by the women ; these are the principal inanimate 
objects to be met with in the ynb mbh. 

Should the space beneath the house happen to be flooded in the 
rainy season, the store of rice is of course removed indoors. 

Dogs, goats, sheep, ducks and fowls are also housed in the yub tiioh. 
The brooding hens are kept under a cage-shaped seiireukab -), the 
others at night in a srkveum or eunipting (fowl-run), while the fighting- 
cocks are in the daytime fastened up here by strings to the posts, 
though at night these favourite animals are brought into the front 
verandah '). 

Cows and buffaloes are housed in separate stalls or ■weue, while ponies 
are tied up here and there to trees. The Achehnese however seldom 
possess the latter animals; those who have them use them but little 
and treat them with scant care ■*). 

All the small live stock huddled together in the yud mbh naturally 

1) This foul-smelling oil {ininyciC liro") is used for lamps etc. What is required for 
culinary purposes is first boiled and prepared so as to remove the smell and is then called 
iiiiiiycii' masa . The Achehnese seldom boil out the oil from the fresh santan (cocoanut 
milk) since the quantity obtainable in this way is smaller. Such oil is called minyeii leiite'. 

2) The Malay sirkap^ a conical cige or basket. The Malays give the same name to a 
similar basket which they use to catch fish in wet padi-fields and standing pools. The 
sluggish fish are caught by plunging the basket down into the water, and the fish are then 
withdrawn through an aperture at the top. {Translator). 

3) With regard to the fowls it should be added that they also are generally collected 
in the evening and placed on a bamboo or plank platform projecting outwards horizontally 
from the house and unprovided with any covering or fence. This is a precaution against 
the perpetual thefts of fowls. If the birds are gathered together in a coop, the thieves 
come and besprinkle them with water; this artificial rain makes them keep still, and the 
plunderers can carry off their booty unnoticed. But when the fowls are sitting on an open 
surface, they will lly in all directions at the first attempt the thief makes to catch them. 

4) They are let loose in the fields by day and tied up to trees at night, generally 
without any shelter. Their owners often forget to water them for one or two days at a 
time, so that the expression "to water a horse" {l>ri ie gttJa) is used proverbially as a 
reproach to someone who puts off the performance of a duty, as one who should pay a 
daily visit, but only puts in an appearance one day in three or four. 


render the place somewhat the reverse of wholesome. To this it must 
be added that much of the refuse from the house is simply thrown in 
there instead of being conveyed to the dung-heap by the gutter above 
referred to. Most contributions of this sort come through the giiha '), 
a hole pierced in the floor of the back verandah to receive odds and 
ends of refuse wet and dry, but which also serves as a latrine for 
children and invalids! Besides this, the floor of every inner room 
[jnrcV] is furnished with a long open fissure over which the dead are 
laid to be washed, so as to let the water used in the ablution flow 
off easily. 

Notwithstanding all this, the yub nibk is also used as a temporary 
resting-place for human beings. If there are children in the house, a 
laree swingine cradle is hung here for their use. Here too the women 
set up their cloth on the loom and perform other househokl duties, 
for which purpose a certain portion is partitioned off by a screen 
[pHpalang). At festivals some of the guests are entertained in the same 
place; and here it is customary to receive visits of condolence for a 
death. Some chiefs keep imprisoned in the yiib moh those who refuse 
to pay the fines imposed on them. 

At the foot of the steps leading up to the house (gciki ri-Hiiyciin) 
there always stands a great earthenware water-jar [guchi). Close to 
this is a hooked stick planted in the ground to hold a bucket (scii- 
neidat tima) and a number of stones rather neatly arranged. Anyone 
who wishes to enter the house places his dusty or muddy feet on 
these stones and pours water over them from the bucket till they are clean. 

Where there is a separate kitchen [rumbli dapu), a flight of steps 
leading down from this allows the inmates to quit the house from the 
back, but as a rule the steps in front are the only means of egress, 
so that the women must traverse the front verandah every time they 
go out of doors. 

Some houses have a wooden platform surrounding the foot of the 
steps and protected by the penthouse roof which covers the latter. It 
is set against the side of the house and stands a little lower than the 
floor of the front verandah. This serves the inmates as an occasional 
place to sit and laze in and also for the pursuit of parasites in one 

l) The word also signifies "grotto" or "cave", but the expression /«' toh ^ic' keudeh ba" 
gtiha (Van Langen, Achehnese Dictionary p. 471) means "go and make water at the hole" 
and not "in the ca*e". 


another's hair, a practice as necessary and popular among the Acheh- 
nese as among the Javanese '). Here too the little children play. 

By the house door access is gained to the front verandah or 
as the Achehnese call it, the stair verandah [srambe reunyeun), 
which is separated from the rest of the house by a partition in 
which are the doors of the inner chambers [juree) and the aperture 
leading into the central passage, filled generally either by a curtain 
or a door. 

This is the portion of the Achehnese dwelling to which the unin- 
itiated are admitted. Here guests are received, kanduris or religious 
feasts are given and business discussed. Part of the floor [aleiie) is 
covered with matting; on ceremonial occasions carpets [plianadani or 
peiireuinadani) are spread over this, and on top of these again each 
guest finds an ornamentally worked square sitting-mat [tika due) 
placed ready for him. A sort of bench made of wood or bamboo called 
pratdih sometimes serves the master of the house as a bedstead during 
part of the night, when he finds the heat excessive within. Here too 
are to be found a number of objects which betray the calling or 
favourite sport of their owner, some on shelves or bamboo racks {san- 
deng) against the wall, some stuck in the crevices of the wall itself. 
There the fisherman hangs his nets (jeice or nyareng), the huntsman 
his snares [tarbn], all alike their weapons; there too are kept certain 
kinds of birds such as the leue' (Mai. tekukur, a kind of small dove), 
which are much used for fighting-matches. 

The passage {rambai) is at one side in a house of three sections, 
but in one of five it is right in the middle between the two bedrooms. 
It is entered by none but women, members of the household or the 
family, or men on very intimate terms of acquaintanceship, as it only 
gives access to the back verandah, the usual abode of the women, who 
there perform their daily household tasks. 

Some provisions are stored in the rainbat, as for instance a giichiov 
earthenware jar of decayed cocoanut (// //) for making oil, and a jar 
of vinegar made from the juice of the aren [ie jo) or the nipah. Here 
too stands the tayeu'en, a smaller portable earthenware jar in which 
the mistress of the house or her maidservant fetches water from the 

l) The .\chehQese however do not perform this operation in the same unsavoury manner 
as the Javanese, whom they nickname Jawa pajoh giitee = "louse-eating Javanese". 


well to fill the guchi which stands in the back verandah and contains 
the supply of water for household use. 

Some short posts {rang) extending only from the roof to the floor arc 
furnished with small pieces of plank on which are hung the brass 
plates with stands of the same metal on which food is served to guests, 
the trays {dalong) big enough to hold an idang for four or five persons 
and the smaller ones (krikay) on which are dished the special viands 
for the most distinguished visitors. Either in the rambat or the sramoe 
likot stands a chest [pciiloi-) containing the requisite china and earthenware. 

Porcelain dishes (pitigan) and plates or small dishes [chipe) are to 
be found in these chests almost everywhere in the lowland districts, 
but when there are no guests the simpler ware common in the Tunong 
is here also used, viz. large earthenware or wooden plates called chapah 
and smaller ones known as chiie. 

The back verandah serves as it were as a sitting-room and as we 
have seen often answers the purpose of a kitchen as well. It contains 
a sitting mattress [tilani diic') with a mat on it especially intended for 
the use of the master, when he comes here to eat his meals or to 
repose; while a low bench [pratdih] similarly covered with a mat serves 
as a resting-place for small children. Here are to be found, on shelves 
or racks fixed against the wall, plates, earthen cooking-pots [blangbng), 
circular earthen or brass saucepans (kanct) ') in which rice is boiled -), 
earthen frying-pans with handles {sudii) for frying fish etc., the curry- 
stone {initc'e neupi'h) for grinding spices etc., with the grater [aneu) that 
appertains to it, and earthenware or brass lamps {panybt) in the form 
of round dishes with four or seven mouths [inatd) in each of which a 
wick is placed. Some of these lamps arc suspended by cords from above 
[panybt gantung), others rest on a stand [panybt dbng). From the rafters 
and beams hang at intervals little nets called salang, neatly plaited of 
rattan, for holding dishes which contain food, so as to protect their 
contents to some extent from the attacks of various domestic animals. 

Drinking vessels of brass [vnindam) or earthenware [pcunuman') are 

1) Hence the collective name in Acheh for pottery, kati'ct-blangong. 

2) These pots are generally used in .'Vcheh for cooking rice with water {^ta^u'cti). Stea- 
ming {sen^ib') is only resorted to in the case of gelatinous rice (bii Icukaf)^ certain ground 
fruits and a few sweetmeats such as srbykaya or apain. For this are employed utensils 
called punchcue'' similar in shape to the kukiisans of Java. As a matter of fact the cooking 
of rice in water (IhvcC) is the rule in Java also in many more districts than is generally 


to be found in all the different apartments. They have as covers 
brass drinking-cups which are inverted and replaced after use. 

Cooking is performed in a very simple manner. Five stones arranged 
almost exactly in this form • constitute two teiinungkees 'j or pri- 
mitive chafing-dishes in which wood fires are lit, one for the rice and 
the other for the vegetables {gule). The use of iron chafing-dishes (^r««) 
on three legs is a mark of a certain degree of luxury. 

The holy of holies in the house is the one part of it that may be 
really called a room, the jiirec, to which access is had by a door 
leading out on to the back verandah. Here the married couple sleep, 
here takes place the first meeting of bride and bridegroom at the 
mampku'c (inf. chapter III, § i) and here the dead are washed. These 
rooms are seldom entered by any save the parents, children and 

The floor is as a rule entirely covered with matting. The roofing 
is hidden by a white cloth [tire dilanget) and the walls are in like 
manner covered with tire or hangings. Round the topmost edge of 
the tire runs a border formed of diamond-shaped pieces of cloth of 
various colours; these when stitched together form the pattern called 
in Acheh chradi or iiiirahpati. Such disguising of roof and walls is 
resorted to in the other parts of the house only on festive occasions. 
On a low bench or platform [prataih] is placed a mattress [tilam eh) 
with a mat over it, and this couch is usually surrounded with a mos- 
quitonet [klenmbu). 

Besides this there is spread on the floor a sitting-mattress [tilam due') 
of considerable size, but intended only for the man's use, and thus 
provided with a sitting mat. On both mattresses are piles of cushions 
(bantay suson) shaped like bolsters and adorned at either end with 
pretty and often costly trimming. A sitting mattress has about four, 
a sleeping mattress as many as fifteen cushions of this description. 

The clothing and personal ornaments are kept in a chest which 
stands in the jurec. Well-to-do people generally have for this purpose 
chests the front of which is formed of two little doors opening out- 
wards. These are called peutb'e dbng or standing chests to distinguish 
them from the chests with covers. When the Achehnese learned to 
use European cupboards, they gave them the same name. 

l) Tii/igkii in Mai. and Jav. 


Along the small posts (rang) inside the house there is usually fastened 
a plank set on edge on the floor. This serves as a specious screen for 
all manner of untidiness, concealing all such rubbish as the inmates 
may choose to throw between it and the wall. 

The women as well as the men arc dirty and slovenly, and but few 
of the objects forming the household equipment have a settled place. 
All manner of things are piled on the upper beams or on the small 
platforms (para) which rest thereon, access to which is gained by 
climbing up steps made of pieces of plank fastened to the walls or 
posts. Various objects are to be seen hanging against the wall, or when 
its structure admits, stuck into its crevices (Ihat). 

Lamps and drinking-cups are of course not lacking in the jnrec, still 
less the requisites for chewing betel. The betel-leaves in neat little 
piles with pieces of betclnut on the top are contained in a little brass 
cup of almost the same form as the drinking-cups and like them called 
hate with the word ranub added to show their purpose. The cup is 
covered inside with a cloth lining, which, like the tire-borders, exhibits 
the variegated pattern known as miraltpati or chradi. On top of the 
betel are placed two small boxes, the krandavi and cheulcupa containing 
respectively lime and tobacco mixed with spices. The outfit is in fact 
the same as the pedestrian carries with him in his biingkoih, or if he 
be a person of distinction, has carried for him by his attendants. 

The whole house belongs in Acheh to the category of movable 
property. Every peg is made much too small for its hole and is kept 
in its place by means of large wedges. For anyone who understands 
the uniform structure of the Achehnese house — and every native of 
the country is an adept in this — the task of taking a house to pieces 
and setting it up again elsewhere is but the v/ork of a moment. 

So when an Achehnese sells his house, this means that the purchaser 
removes it to his own place of abode ; a change of residence by the 
proprietor or rather the proprietress to another gampong is quite a 
rare occurrence among the Achehnese. 

Houses are transported in large numbers from the highlands to the 
lowlands, but seldom vice versa, since the Tunong possesses a greater 
abundance of building materials. 

It is to be understood that even the most solidly built Achehnese 
house shakes if anyone pulls at the posts. Thieves and burglars begin 
by shaking the house to discover whether the inmates are sound 


enough asleep to admit of their carrying out their nefarious purposes. 
If they hear from the jiircc or the front verandah the cry 'who is 
that shaking the house?" they know that the time is unfavourable for 
their task. 

Men who have forbidden intrigues with the wife or daughter of the 
house make known their presence in the same way, so that the object 
of their affections may come out to them if opportunity occurs. 

The same course is adopted by the revengeful, who seek treacher- 
ously to slay the master of the house. Having ascertained that the 
latter is sound asleep in the jurie they can generally ascertain, as 
they stand underneath the house, on what part of the floor he is 
lying. Then follow one or two rapid spear-thrusts through the thin 
planks, and all is over. 

To force one's way into the house at night is difficult, as the doors 
are fastened with wooden bolts {gancheng, ancu ganchhig) and besides 
every movement inside the house would be likely owing to the insta- 
bility of the floor, to wake the inmates up. 

INIany houses are regarded as possessed, because their inmates are 
continually falling sick. To protect a house from such malign influences 
various expedients are adopted. 

A favourable time for commencing to build is carefully chosen. The 
work always begins with the setting up of the two principal posts 
with the cross-beams that unite them; while this is in progress, sundry 
prayers and formulas are repeated. These two posts which when the 
house is completed stand in the juree, are called the raja and the 
putroe (prince and princess). For them the soundest and best wood is 
selected ; the raja is first set up and then the putroe. At a wedding 
the bridegroom takes his place next the "prince" post, while the bride 
occupies a seat under the "princess". 

Should the ceremonies at the setting up of the principal pillars prove 
propitious for continuing to build, then as soon as the house is finished 
a lucky day is again chosen for moving into it. 

On this occasion a kanduri or religious feast is given, to which the 
teiingku of the tneunasah (vide inf. § 5) and some lenbes are invited. 
After this gathering there commences the customary "cooling" ') [peii- 

l) \ii odd contrast is to be found in the English name for the initiation of a new- 
house, "house-warming". To natives of warm climates coolness and not warmth appears the 
desidiiatum ( Translator). 


sijji'e'), wliich consists in sprinkling all the posts with flour and water 
[teupong taweiiir) by means of a broom formed of plants and twigs 
having a "cooling", that is an evil-dispelling influence. The same pro- 
cess is resorted to whenever there has been any unusual feast or 
ceremony in the house, since such occurrences are supposed to set 
the heat, that is the powers of evil, in motion. Of all the pillars the 
raja and the putroe receive most attention on such occasions. 

The two "royal" pillars and sometimes others as well are at the 
time of building covered at the top with a piece of white cloth, over 
which again is placed a piece of red, so that they look as though they 
had turbans on their heads. This is also supposed to contribute to the 
protection of the inmates from evil influences. 

g 4. Distribution of the people ; clans and tribes. 

The family The family, whose dwelling-place is the Achehnese house just de- 
and thejribes^^^j^^^ J its origin and the customs and laws that control its daily life 

(kawom, ' ° ^ 

sukeii). are all dealt with in a later chapter. There we shall see how among 
many genuine patriarchal institutions, survivals are not wanting of the 
former prevalence of what the Germans call "Mutterrecht", or to which 
they apply the curious hybrid name "Matriarchat." 

The child never ceases to regard the house and gampong of his 
mother as his own. The daughters continue after marriage to reside 
in their mother's house (in which case a juric is vacated in their 
favour) or obtain another house in its immediate neighbourhood. The 
sons when married are said to "go home" {woe) to their wives, yet 
they remain, except when visiting their wives, citizens of their mother's 
gampong, where in common with all whose wives do not reside in 
that gampong or who are still unmarried, they pass their nights in the 

Thus descendants of a common ancestress through the female line 
are usually to be found living as relatives in the same neighbourhood, 
while those derived from a common ancestor are scattered about in 
different villages. 

These and similar facts, however, interesting though they may be, 
have at the present time only a rudimentary signification for the 
Achehnese community. When mention is made of a family in the more 


extended sense of a tribe [kawom), this is taken to include all the 
descendants of a common ancestor in the male line, however far apart 
from one another they may happen to reside. And this is no new 
conception, nor should it in all probability be ascribed to the influence 
of Mohammedanism alone, though no doubt greatly strengthened 
thereby; most of the old Achehnese adats and institutions bear witness 
to and confirm this patriarchal origin. 

Thus a kaivom ') includes all whose pedigrees followed up in the 
male line coincide in a single ancestor. Even where the line cannot 
be clearly traced (and few Achehnese know their descent for more 
than three generations) they still hail one another as fellow-tribesmen 
as long as the feeling survives that they are connected in the manner 
indicated with a common ancestor. 

Van Langen ^) has very properly represented the division of the 
Achehnese people into kaivnms as the ancient and patriarchal, as 
opposed to the territorial distribution, the latter being a more recent 
and higher phase of the political development of Acheh. Even now, 
after government and judicial administration have been for centuries 
based on the territorial distribution, the kaivnms, those genealogical 
units which flourished at a period when might was superior to right and 
when there was no central authority controlling parties, have by no 
means lost all significance. 

In connection with this fact it follows naturally that the kaivnms 
have maintained most force in those parts of the country where the 
political development is most backward, as in the Tunong (the XXII 
Mukims), in Pidie (Pedir) and in the VII Mukims Bueng (the part of 
the XXVI Mukims that has most in common with the highlands in 
language and manners). In the lowlands on the other hand, and 
especially in the neighbourhood of the Dalam, where blood-feuds [bila) 
are not so much the order of the day, and where the upholders of 
territorial authority depend less on their kawom than on their own 
energy and other personal characteristics, the distribution into kawoms 

1) From the Arab, haiim = people, tribe. 

2) In his Atjehsch Staatsbcstuur^ pp. 384 — 390. The theory there propounded (p. 387) 
that this distribution was introduced on a sudden during the reign of a certain Sultan of 
the 1 6th century is unworthy of acceptance and is also at variance with tradition. The 
transition took place naturally, growing with the growth of the people. What the writer 
puts foiward as Achehnese tradition is to an undesirable degree mixed up with modern 
conjectures and the theories of certain Achehnese. 


is of continually diminishing import. Everything tends to show that 
even if the country were left entirely to itself, the development of 
Acheh would gradually result in the entire dissolution of the influence 
of the ka-tvom. 

None the less it has occasionally come to pass in more recent times 
that a lowland tribe which has greatly increased in numbers, has 
cherished the desire of seeing a patigliina kaivom ') established more 
majoritni at its head. 

The fulfilment of such a wish has however for a long time past 
depended on the concurrence of the territorial chief, the ulecbalang. 
The latter first considers whether it is desirable to acquiesce in the 
request of the "family" whose proportions have so much increased, 
and further whether the proposed candidate is to be depended on to 
uphold the interests of his kawom, and especially those which relate 
to blood feuds or bila. A territorial functionary is never selected as 
panglima kawom, since the two-fold office would bring him at times 
into conflict with himself. If the ulecbalang concurs in the request, the 
appointment is made in the presence of a solemn assembly of certain 
office-bearers and a number of members of the kawom or tribe. The 
new leader of the tribe receives from the ulecbalang a seunaUn, that 
is an outfit of clothing and another of weapons, and this present binds 
him as it were expressly to fealty to the ruler of the country. The 
ulecbalang or an experienced speaker on his behalf announces the ap- 
pointment of the panglima kawom to the assembled crowd, and finally 
the newly-appointed chief is smeared behind the ears {si/iih'ng) with 
yellow glutinous rice, a ceremony resorted to on all sorts af solemn 
occasions to ward off" evil influences. 

The appointment of a panglima kawom takes place in the lowland 
districts whenever there are satisfactory reasons for it, even though 
the tribe has no traditional appellation and though its connection with 
one of the four great tribes {kawom or sukee) presently to be noticed 
is entirely unverified. But as already observed, such appointments are 
of uncommon occurrence, and the fact that they belong to one of the 
four great kawoms is as a rule only brought home to the lowlanders by 
occasional troublesome demands for help and support from their un- 
known brethren of the highlands. 

l) Chief or leader of the kawom. 


The demand for blood-vengeance (bila) or a blood-price (diet) by the 
next of kin of a slain man, which is very common in the lowlands, 
need not be gone into here in our description of institutions strictly 
Achehnese, as it is universal in all Mohammedan communities. 

The Tunong or highlands of Great-Acheh are, comparatively speaking, 
up to the present time the true sphere of the kawom. Here we find 
the four great tribes [kawmn or snkec) to one or other of which every 
true highlander regards himself as belonging, and from which it is 
generally asserted that every Achehnese must be descended '). Here a 
strained relation between two tribes may result in a hostile attitude, 
be it only such as that of the Bedouins, a war without battles, but 
marked by many thievish raids and treacherous attacks, and sometimes 
actual homicide. 

To learn for himself all that there is still to find out about these 
kaiu'nms the enquirer should devote a considerable time to personal 
investigation in the Tunong. From the actual popular traditions of the 
place he would be able to deduce — not how the four tribes originated, 
for that is known to none, and still less the course of their history 
even in modern times — but what the mutual relations are which 
subsist between the tribes themselves. By examining actually existing 
disputes and the manner of their settlement, he would come to know 
what the adats are which really control the tribal life — which never 
can be learnt from the answers of the highlanders to the questions 
put to them, since each one is apt to try and show off by his answers 
his own wisdom and the greatness of his own katuoin or siikec. 

There are many arguments against the theory of the descent of all 
Achehnese from the four sukces, leaving aside the question as to how 
these latter originated. For instance we find that many of the low- 
landers are absolutely ignorant as to which of the sukees they can claim 
to belong to ; then again we know that there has been from early 
times a considerable intermixture with foreign elements in spite of all 
racial pride. The Sultans of Acheh were in part Malayan, in part 

I) The number four is a favourite one in these genealogical subdivisions. It is known 
that the sukus (the word actually indicates the fraction i) of the MSnangkabau people are 
also based on the number four, .\nyone at all versed in genealogical legends is aware 
that all such tables of descent are .-is regards their uppermost part artificial or mythical or 
in brief fictitious, while the really traditional or more reliable elements must be sought for 
in the most recent branches. In the earlier portions we find represented in genealogical 
form units which history shows to have really been gathered from the four winds. 


Arab, and in part — as with the line of princes who have now occu- 
pied the throne for more than a century and a half — of Bugis origin- 
The great literati or holy men were almost without exception foreigners, 
and the same is true of many of the rich traders and high officials. 
The Klings and Arabs settled in Achch, nay even some of the slaves 
have after several generations become an integral part of the Achch- 
nese people. From this it may be readily concluded that the four 
great tribes, while comprehending the whole of the Tuning people, 
who owing to the nature of tlicir environment were least of all exposed 
to foreign influence or admixture, never inchuled all the Achehnese. 
This remains probable even in view of the indubitable fact that the 
tribal relations which did actually prevail, are in the lowlands fading 
away and gradually disappearing under the pressure of the superior 
power of the chiefs. 

The slight information which we here furnish as to the four kawoms, 
their tradition and adat is from the nature of the subject merely 
preliminary, and will we hope be improved or better still completed 
by others. 

All that can be gathered of the origin of the four kcnvoins or sii/cccs, 
even with respect to tlieir names is thus to a hazardous degree mixed 
up with modern Achehnese philosophy and conjecture. These materials 
though they wear the outward appearance of having been handed 
down from distant ages, exhibit manifest traces of having been thought 
out in a period much too remote for accuracy from the origin of 
the tribes, or concocted to suit the real or supposed meanings of the 
names '). The very circumstance that these kawom-legends diverge as 
widely as the poles should cause us to abandon as hopeless the search 
among them for "germs of history." 

l) See also Van Langen, Aljchsch SlaatslH-sluiir pp. 387 et seq. The explanation there 
given of the distribution of the people into kawoms as based on difference of race, thus 
giving us a Mante-Batak, a Hindu and a half-caste kawSm, and also one of more recent 
origin, rests again on modern Achehnese theory and is as little trustworthy as the doctrine 
of Teungku Kutakarang (see p. 18 above) according to which the people of Acheh was 
composed of Arabs, Persians and Turks. The flights of fancy indulged in by the Achehnese 
expositors are shown by the explanation of the name of the kawom Td^ Batii on p. 388 
of the above work. They derive it from the circumstance that on one occasion through the 
help of this tribe "stones enough" were found. In the first place, the proper meaning of 
/»' is "to arrive" and not "to be enough." Besides this, however, the word To' is a 
common abbreviation of Dalo' which like Ja means ancestor, and as a matter of fact the 
tribe in question is just as often called Ja Bates as 7"o' Batii, 


Thus much is, however, certain, that from the earliest time three 
of the four kawoms were even when taken together inferior in numbers 
and strengh to the fourth, and therefore combined in opposition to 
the latter. Through this conjunction and also perhaps through attendant 
political circumstances the nature of which we can now hardly con- 
jecture, this trio of tribes succeeded, at the time when the Achehnese 
passed from what we have termed the genealogical or patriarchal to ' 
the territorial distribution, in retaining for themselves the highest positions 
and excluding their common rival therefrom. Thus the united three 
restored the balance of power and even made it turn in their favour, 
but not before they had transferred the conflict to another sphere than 
that of the kazuoms. 

While the tribes LIu't- reutoih, Chut (also known as Ja or To') San- The three 

rr,^, fN-r. •! ir'i- kawoms and 

dang and To or jfa Bate'e all contributed members to the famuies of the Imeum 
the territorial chiefs or high officials to the chief town of the kingdom, '^uet. 
no single member of the fourth tribe, the Iincuin Peiict has attained 
to more than the modest rank of chief of a mukini. 

The names of the kawoms teach us little; let us however recapi- 
tulate them. 

i". Lhic reutoih, i. e. the Three Hundred, without doubt a peculiar 
title for a genealogical unit. If it may be assumed that three hundred 
families or three hundred fighting men were originally intended by the 
name, it is probable that we have to do with an ancient federation called 
into existence at some crisis of public necessity or conflict and afterwards 
remaining united and increasing in numbers chiefly if not altogether by 
propagation. But who can vouch for the correctness of this supposition ? 

2°. Chut, Ja or To' Sandang. Ja or To as we have seen, means 
forefather. Both names, like euvipec (Mai. empu) are also applied to 
revered and personified objects, such as sacred trees, wells, rocks and 
cliffs, the worship of which clearly dates from heathenish times, but 
has here survived in spite of Islam. 

CliKt properly means "little". It is used as a prefix to the names 
of children and (at least in more recent times) of men and women of 
position. Sandang, which properly means "to carry something under the 
arm suspended to a rope or strap passing over the shoulder", is also 
sometimes used as a male proper name '). 

i) For instance the cousin and /hiri/a of the present Teuku Ne' is called Teuku Sandang. 



Van Langen notices a tradition according to which the name of this 
tribe was originally that of an individual from Lampanaih in the 
XXII Mukims, who used to bring every year to the Sultans of Acheh 
in token of fealty a bamboo filled with palm-wine fastened to a cord 
passing over his shoulder '). 

Another legend which I have heard, while equally unreliable from 
a historical point of view, is much more generally current among the 
Achehncse, and serves to illustrate an adat which prevailed up to the 
latest times at the installation of a new Sultan. 

According to this story, one of the Sultans of Acheh once found 
himself constrained to go and enforce in person his authority over the 
district of Pidie. His route thither lay through Lam Panaih in the XXII 
Mukims. Here he suffered from thust, but none was found to bring 
him anything to drink, till at last a man of humble rank brought him 
milk in a bamboo vessel (pncho'), which he carried in the way ex- 
pressed by the word sandang. 

The Sultan was extremely grateful and invited him to come to him 
when the war was over and His Majesty had returned to the Dalam, 
as he wished to give him an earnest of the honour and favour in which 
he held him. ''Hut how", objected the old man, "shall an insignificant 
person like myself be recognized as he who helped to assuage your 
thirst, and admission to the Dalam be accorded me"? "You must", 
replied the Sultan, "twist a white cocoanut spathe round your head by 
way of sign, and hang your bamboo vessel over your shoulder as it 
now is". Ja Sanddng did so, and both he and his descendants enjoyed 
the utmost consideration at the Court. 
TeukuKali. Later on the ruler of Acheh who reformed or endeavoured to reform 
the administration of justice, chose his court judge from the tribe of 
Ja Sandang, which had meantime greatly increased in dignity. This 
official received the title of Kali Malikul-adil (Malikon Adc) and tlic 
judicial office or at least the title apjiertaining to it remained hereditary 
in his family. 

The later bearers of this title gratlually acquired the positions of 
masters of ceremonies at the Court. Those who have seen them in the 
exercise of their functions at the installation of a new Sultan, can 
testify that on such occasions the Teuku Kali wore a white cocoanut 

l) Atjchsch Staalshcstuii)\ pp. 388 — 389. 


spathe under his head-cloth, and a blunderbuss attached to a leathern 
belt passing over his shoulder. The reason given for adhering to this 
adat is that the titular "judge" appeared also in the character of the 
representative of his tribe the Ja Sandang. As, however, customs change 
with lapse of time, the later Sultans had permitted the holders of this 
office to exchange the bamboo vessel for a blunderbuss and to hide 
the cocoanut spathe to some extent beneath their head-cloth. 

We let this legend pass for what it is worth, merely adding that 
the members of this tribe are not allowed to eat the flesh of white 
buffaloes or the salt water fish alu-alu, both of which are tabooed 
[pantang] for them. There is of course no lack of stories to account 
for this prohibition. Similar rules affecting particular families or tribes 
are very common in Java; among the Sundanese they are known as 
buyut or in some cases chadu. 

Such pantang-rules, even though strictly observed by Mohammedans, 
date of course from pre-Mohammedan times, and in so far they per- 
haps argue a much greater antiquity for the suke'e of Ja Sandang than 
the Achehnese themselves are aware of. 

3". Ja or To Bate'e = Forefather or Grandfather Stone. It may be 
conjectured that the tribe so named regarded its individuality as em- 
bodied in the common worship of a sacred stone '). 

4". luieum peuet or tlie four imams, evidently a very modern appel- 
lation as compared with 2" and 3" above. It seems to indicate that 
this tribe or confederacy existed or was formed under the leadership 
of four chiefs called imams. As we know, the office of imam (Ach. 
imeum) stands entirely apart from the organization of the kawoms. We 
have in Acheh imeums who take the lead in devotional exercises 
without deriving from this function any particular rank in the commu- 
nity. Again we find imeums in the position of headmen of districts 
(mukims), whose office was according to the intent of its founder 
without doubt closely connected with religion, but has degenerated 
into one of purely worldly authority. Neither of the two seems to 
suggest the constitution or appellation of a snke'c. 

It appears to me not improbable that a number of smaller kawoms 

l) Compare Ja Karieiig^ a dreaded tree on Pulo Lam Puyang, the subject of many vows, 
Eiimfle Liilii^ a mountain on the coast of the IV Mukims which plays a part in the rain- 
making superstition, Eiimpie Blieng^ a holy well in the IX Mukims, which also helps to 
cause rain, etc. 


each with a name of its own but without any collective appellation 
used to band themselves together in time of danger; and that at the 
time when the greatest efforts towards centralization of control were 
being made in Acheh, this confederacy obtained four ivieiims to look 
after their mosques and maintain their connection with the territorial 
rulers. Later on then, when this tribe had greatly increased in numbers 
and spread itself throughout every district, the name survived. 

Many however take the view that the name points to an original 
quartet of tribes, united to one another in the same way and for the 
same reasons as the three siikei'S first mentioned {L/iee reutoih, Ja 
Sandang and Ja Batcc). Such a supposition finds some support in the 
description of the Achehnesc people as the seven kawoms or bangsas, 
which is to be met with occasionally in their literature. This expression 
however, the meaning of which even the most intelligent Achehnese 
declare themselves unable to understand, is just as likely to have 
originated in a totally difterent manner, nor have I met with any 
popular tradition according to which these "seven tribes" might be 
taken to be composed of four clans of the Imeiim peu'ct and the other 
three tribes. Be this as it may, human memory discloses nothing with 
respect to this fourfold division, and if it ever did exist, the fusion is 
now quite complete. 
Original The distribution into kaxvoms, even though not originally resting on 
territoria purely genealogical basis, afterwards obtained a genealogical signifi- 

significance i .» c o o o o 

of ihe distri- cance, since the increase of each kawovi was due in the first place to 

bulion into . ... i i- t-. 

kawoms. natural propagation, and that too exclusively in the male line. Beyond 
all doubt there was nothing territorial in this distribution ; for no matter 
where a man may choose to take up his abode, the bond which attaches 
him to his kazvom remains unsevered. 

Still we may readily suppose that the kaivonis were more or less 
territorially distinguished from one another by position, like the tribes 
of Israel or the Bedouins of Arabia both past and present. Indeed the 
instinct of mutual self-support that was unquestionably the weightiest 
factor in the formation of the kawoms, was most intimately connected 
with community of the place of abode. 

Concentration was especially resorted to against threatened danger 
from the other clans; and it follows as a matter of course that there 
could be no community of residence with an enemy. A manifest sur- 
vival of this separation of clans, which was undoubtedly much more 


marked in ancient times, is to be found in the adat-rule, often trans- 
gressed yet always recognized in theory, that marriage while permitted 
between members of the first three confederated tribes is forbidden 
between these and the Iineutn Peu'et. 

Had the territorial chiefs succeeded fully in carrying out their pur- 
pose, such a prohibition would of course have lost all its force. Indeed, 
where the kaivoms have been constrained to live at peace with one 
another and to submit their disputes to the arbitration of third parties, 
there has been an end of all impulse to such a social separation, which 
is besides opposed to the teaching of Islam. It is, however, equally 
certain that such severance and isolation were very much more preva- 
lent prior to the time when the uleebalangs and other chiefs began 
to exert control over all alike without distinction of kazvom. 

Free intermarriage between the three allied kaionvis dates of course 
from their federation. 

It does not require a great stretch of the imagination to realize the 
peculiar consequences of free intermixture of the kan'oins, where the 
tribal distribution still retains its true significance. 

We have already seen that the adat-prohibition just noticed is very 
frequently transgressed. When once the wall of separation between two 
families is thrown down, a feeling of kinship arises between them and 
they no longer trouble themselves over the circumstance that the one 
belongs to the Imeum Peuet, and the other to one of the three allied 
tribes. Now all goes well as long as nothing occurs to disturb the 
peace between the ka-tuoins. Suppose however that a blood-feud springs 
up between the two and is not at once amicably settled ; suppose, as 
often happens, that such a /'/7(?-dispute gradually assumes greater 
proportions and that the two parties constantly widen the breach 
between them by robbery and murder? Then we shall find the son 
fighting against the kazuoin of his mother, against his own uncles and 
cousins, where he belongs say to the To' Bate'e and they to the Ivwum 
Pciict. Or let us take the case of two sisters whose family belongs to 
the To Batl'c, and suppose that one marries a member of the I»tcum 
Peuct (thus transgressing the theoretical rule), and the other a member 
of the Llie'c Reutoih. The usual place of residence of the two husbands, 
if they do not neglect their wives, will, in accordance with the Acheh- 
nese adat, be in the same house or at least in the same courtyard. 
Should a conflict such as we have just supposed arise, the brothers- 


in-law would have to avoid each other as enemies until peace was 

Such a state of things is not merely hypothetical, but often actually 
arises. It is true, most civil conflicts among the Achehnese express 
themselves rather in high worils, empty burning of powder and un- 
executed plans than in sanguinary' battles. Yet blood-feuds arc distin- 
guished by a certain degree of violence, and it is these in ])articular 
which give rise to tribal dissensions. 

We can thus understand the rationale of this adat-rule, and perceive 
that it must in earlier times have had a wider influence and been more 
strongly enforced than at present. 

If the social separation of the kawoms is gradually ceasing to exist, 
their territorial severance has long been a thing of the past. Even in 
the highlands the three allied kaivnms do not live apart from one 
another, but reside peacefully side by side in the same districts or 
gampongs. Natural as it now appears, this gathering together within the 
same village enclosure and under the same territorial chiefs must at 
one time have been a gigantic stride along the road of political deve- 
lopment. This reform cannot be ascribed to the influence of the sultans, 
since everything points to the fact that the iileebalangs had made 
good their territorial power long before they were compelled to recog- 
nize the supremacy of the port-king. We may assume that the efforts 
of certain energetic individuals towards the establishment of territorial 
authority were crowned with success because the time was ripe for 
political reform, and because all men, however disinclined they might 
be to leave the decisions of their bloodfeuds to others, saw that it was 
for their interest to adopt a regulated social system in whicii the 
katvoni played but a secondary part. 

This reformation has virtually abolished the clan system. In the 
lowlands as time goes on it is becoming entirely forgotten. In the 
highlands it still possesses considerable significance; but this must gra- 
dually decrease unless unforeseen events arise to annihilate the compa- 
rative order that now prevails there. 

The most important paiigliiuas of the Iincinii Pciict are those in the 
VII Mukims Ba'et, and outside these at Lam Leu'ot. There are how- 
ever chiefs of this most numerous clan to be found in other places as 
well, and in like manner the other three kawoins have their panglima 
in every place where they are at all well represented as regards num- 


bers. The post of panglima kawotn, like all Achehnese offices, devolves 
by inheritance, but as we have seen above, the holder of this office 


may take no share in the territorial government. As regards the 
panglimaship, the three allied tribes count as one ; where there exists 
a panglima of any one of them, he has no colleagues from the other 
two and attends to the interests of all alike. A blood-debt of any one 
of these kawoms is also regarded as resting on all three. 

Settlement of blood-feuds seems in ancient times to have been made Vengeance 
almost exclusively by the exacting of vengeance. While the latter is "'^ \^\^q^^ 
expressed by a word of Indian origin [hila] the milder custom of blood- money, 
money is only denoted by the Arabic appellation diet. Although the 


idea of a blood- price is not foreign to native customary law in other 
parts of the Eastern Archipelago, this method of settlement seems to 
have been introduced into Acheh through the medium of Islam, — 
though not without modifications. 

It is not necessary here to go into the rules of Mohammedan law 
in respect of the jus talionis and blood-money. It need only be borne 
in mind that in case of wilful murder or hurt, the Moslim law gives 
the right of retributive vengeance to none but the heir of the victim 
or (in case of hurt) to the wounded man himself. The execution of 
this vengeance is made subject to the supervision of the public 
authorities. At the same time the injured party is left free, nay in 
many cases advised to content himself with the blood-price fixed by 
law instead of exacting a personal vengeance. 

In Acheh however it has remained an etablished rule that blood- 
feuds are decided without any interference on the part of the territorial 
authorities, simply under the direction of the panglimas of the kawom, 
who are tribal and not territorial chiefs. Exceptions occur now and 
then through the authority of some unusually energetic uleiibalang or 
unusually influential ulama. Here again we find all the members of a 
kawom jointly and severally liable as concerns bila, so that a blood- 
feud may keep two clans for years in a state of mutual hostility '). 
Should, however, the influence of the panglinia kawom or the pressure 
of the higher powers be able to prevent the feud and induce the in- 
jured party to accept blood-money, then the guilty party, who is in 
most cases unable to make up the required sum -), considers himself 
more or less entitled to demand contributions from all his well-to-do 
fellow-tribesmen, or if he belongs to one of the three allied kaivoms, 
from all the members of these three tribes. Thus the highland blood- 
debtor, to whom a period of one or two years is granted for paying 
off the diet, goes on a journey "to collect subscriptions" (cho ripe). 
Such debtors often come down into the lowlands and apply for con- 
tributions to those of whose connection with their tribe the recol- 

1) In the highlands also vengeance for blood is more under the control of the adat than 
of Mohammedan law. Where the guilty party cannot be pointed out with certainty, but 
where it is known to what family he belongs, the injured party is entitled to take his 
revenge by slaying or wounding one member of the family. Vengeance for blood also 
extends to the atictor intellectiialis who has for example bribed or instigated others to 
commit the deed. 

2) The ordinary blood-money for causing death in Acheh is 500 Spanish (Mexican) dollars. 


lection still survives. The lowlanders even say that their highland 
brethren are in the habit of making a profit from their murders by 
collecting several times the amount due from the fellowtribesmen whose 
existence they only remember on such occasions. 

The relation of the hiiemn Peuct to the three united kaiuoms has Rhymes on 

the mutual 

found expression in a popular doggerel of a somewhat partial descrip- relations of 
tion. As appears from the conclusion, which is the same in every 
version, the verses may be considered to have originated with the 
hneum Peiiet, as this clan is therein celebrated as the most powerful 
of all. But the other siike'cs have, partly by giving a special explanation 
of what is said of them in this popular ditty and partly by giving a 
different version, extracted the sting so that they are able to quote it 
in honour of themselves '). 

Sukec Lhec Reutoih 

ban aneu drang 

Suke'e Ja Sandang 

jra haleuba. 
Suke'e Ja Bated 

na bachut-bachnt ; 
Snkee Imeum Peuet 
nyang go'-go' donya. 
If we translate the verses in the sense originally given them by the 
Imeum Peuet, the meaning is: "The tribe of the Three Hundred is 
(insignificant) as the seeds of the drang (a bush which grows like a weed 
along fences) ; the people of the clan Ja Sandang are even as anise and 
cummin (thus a little more valuable) ; those of the Ja Batee (count) for 
something ; the Imeum Peuet it is which makes the world to tremble." 
When a member of any of the three united tribes explains these 
verses, he prefers to ascribe the comparison of the Lhee Reutoih with 
drang-sceds to their numbers and the cummin and anise to the choice 
flavour of the Ja Sandang, who though not great in point of numbers 

l) Van Langen has quoted this doggerel in his Atjihsch Staatsbestuur and in his 
Achehnese Dictionary under ? i^J, with some different readings and not without errors. 
Every verse of an Achehnese poem consists of 4 lines of 2 feet each. The pair in the 
middle rhyme with one another (like drang with Sandang above, and also bachtit with 
feuet allowing for the customary poetic license). The last syllable of each verse rhymes 
with the last syllable of the next {haleuba with donya). It must be understood that the 
necessities of rhyme and metre exercise some constraint on the contents of the verses: the 
sense is clear enough, but too much stress not be laid on the exact wording. 


yet as holders of important offices iniprejjnatc all Aclieli with their 
savour. Still more does he prefer to offer you another edition which 
clearly shows how the Iineum Pciict has through the united power of 
the other three clans been excluded from all high otilices and has thus 
become subject to the latter so far as territorial svipremacy is con- 
cerned. In this version the first verse runs as follows: 

Sukic Lliec Reutoih 

Suke'e Ja Sandang 
jeitct keuraja. 

"The clan of the Three Hundred are ulccbalangs, that o{ Ja Sandang 
may become rajas" '). 

Before taking leave of the kaiunvis, the survivals of the Bedouin- 
period of the Achehnese people, we must notice one other important 
alteration introduced in their mutual relations by the territorial sub- 
division of Acheh wliich has gradually come into being. Although the 
members of a kaiooiii are and remain united for the purposes of ex- 
acting vengeance for blood, of protection against others who demand 
such vengeance or for the collection of the blood-money — in territorial 
or political contests the importance of the kawoins is entirely driven 
out of the field. We now find members of the hiicuin Pciict fighting 
side by side like brothers with those of the other clans, and vice 
versa, in two forces hostile to one another men can be found who 
belong to one and the same katvoni -). 

§ 5. The Gampong, its Government and Adats. 

The Gam- Next to the house and its enclosure, the smallest territorial unit is 
P""g- (.j^g Gampong (Malay kampimg) or village, the external appearance of 
which we have to some extent described above. There are the court- 
yards, part of which are utilized as gardens, containing one or more 

1) The word raja which is chosen for the sake of the rhyme and of variety has here 
exactly the same meaning as uleebalang. We shall presently see that the uleebalaitgs are as 
a matter of fact the rajas of Acheh. 

2) [An official enquiry recently made has elicited the fact that the tribal life has lost 
its force to a great extent in the XXII Mukims also. In the quarrels and petty wars of 
the highlands in the last century the kawoms have played but a secondary part. It is a 
suggestive fact that as regards more than one chief in this district the very kawom to which 
he belongs is a matter of controversy.] 


houses separated from one another and from the gampong-paths (jurong) 
by fences ; then the whole gampong surrounded by a fence of its own, 
and connected by a gate with the main road (ret or rot) which leads 
through fields and gardens [blang and lampoih) and tertiary jungle 
{tamak) to other similar gampongs. 

Real forest [uteiien) is less often to be found in the neighbourhood 
of gampongs in the lowlands than in the Tunong, and virgin jungle 
[rimba] in the Tunong only. 

Accepting as accurate our hypothesis with regard to the kawoms, 
namely that they were originally separate in a territorial as well as a 
tribal sense, we may then assume that in former times each gampong 
comprised a kawoin or a subdivision of one, which added to its num- 
bers only by marriages within its own enclosure, or at most with the 
women of neighbouring fellow-tribesmen. The former headmen of the 
gampongs would in this case have been the panglimas of the kawoms. 
Later on, however, came the great step in the advance of political 
development, by which chiefs or princes [iileebalangs) were made rulers 
over the inhabihants of a certain district, without distinction of katvnvi 
or sukec. To this was added the residence together in one and the 
same village of people of different kawoms, their intermixture by 
marriage etc. So soon as this had come to pass, the head of the tribe 
had to give place to the head of the village, and depended for his 
authority as much on the will of the lord of the province as on the 
recognition of his fellow-villagers. 

Many usages and customary laws may have succeeded in surviving 
this reform, and that such was the case appears probable from the 
primitive nature of adats which are still observed. In one respect, however, 
a change must gradually have crept in; the chief of the village naturally 
found duty coincide with inclination in wresting for himself as much 
as possible of the authority of the panglima kawovi, and the uleebalang 
whose deputy he was, was certain to lend him his full support in this. 

Much, in fact most of the old aciat kawoni was thus transformed to 
adat gampong, and the enforcement of this adat became the task of 
the headman of the gampong. Only the blood-feuds, which according 
to Achehnese ideas are matters of a most private nature, yet cannot 
be confined to the circle of a single family, remained in the hands of 
the chiefs of the kawoms. 

Such is, briefly stated, the most probable history of the formation 


of the present Achehnese gampong; though all that we can know with 

entire certainty is the final result, which we must now proceed to 

describe. Before approaching the method of administration we must 

add to our sketch of the village itself a word respecting the meunasah '),. 

In the gampong or in its immediate neighbourhood there is always The meu- 
to be found a building constructed in the same way as an ordmary 

dwelling-house, but without windows, passage or any kind of division. 

Close to the steps leading to this building is a water-tank either simply 

dug in the ground or built of masonry. A pipe or gutter of bamboo 

sloping downwards from the mouth of the nearest well opens into 

the tank, so as to make it easy to draw the water daily from the 


These meunasahs serve as the nightly resting-place of all the full- 
grown youths of the gampong, and of all men who are temporarily 
residing there and have no wife in the gampong. This category includes 
both strangers and those whose mother for example lives in the gam- 
pong, and who are not for the moment desirous of visiting their wives 
who reside elsewhere. For all such it would be regarded as improper 
except in case of illness to lodge in a house. Scapegraces who carry 
on intrigues with the women are shortly called ureiieng tambng gam- 
pong i. e. "men who come into the gampong", in which expression 
night-time is meant to be understood, and the gampong is supposed 
to mean all the dwelling-houses as opposed to the meunasah. 

It may be concluded with certainty that this institution is of great 
antiquity, much more so than the present name applied to the building 
itself, which is derived from the Arabic. We find indeed amongst 
neighbouring peoples heathen as well as Mohammedan the same noc- 
turnal separation, and a bale or some such building in which the young 

l) This word which also appears in the forms lietinasah., meiilasah and beulasah is derived 
from the Arabic madrasah., meaning a teaching institute; it has also other secondary 
significations. The statement made by Van Langen in his Atjehsch Staatsbestutir p. 391, 
that the tetiiigkti (who is in charge of the meunasah) is a kind of subordinate village head- 
man, is erroneous. It sometimes occurs indeed, that one gampong has more than one 
meunasah (in rare cases as many as four), but in every case the relation between the 
teungku and the keuchi' within the sphere of each meunasah is indicated by the compa- 
rison "the keuchi' is the father, the teungku the mother", and each has his own limit of 
action and his own appointed duties. Where the number of meunasahs in a gampong is 
too great for the keuchi's control, he is represented by wakis in one or more meunasahs. 
Where a single keuchi' is placed in charge of more than one gampong, as often happened 
in former times, such representation is the rule. 


men sleep and in which meetings are occasionally held for the discus- 
sion of matters of public interest '). 

When Islam established itself as the rule of life in Acheh, this 
resting-place for men became also a house of prayer or chapel for the 
gampong, such as are to be found in Java under the appellations 
langgar, bale'-) or tajug. There are however few gampongs in which 
religious zeal is strong enough to cause the assemblage of a consider- 
able number in the nicitnasah for the five obligatory daily prayers. 
Prayers. All are at work or employed in their own affairs, and whoever 

wishes to perform the appointed prayers [seumayang) does so at home 
or wherever he may chance to be at the time. The most that is done 
at the mennasak is to beat at sunset the great drum [tanibu] made of 
a hollowed tree-trunk with buffalo-leather stretched over one end. This 
is beaten to announce the time for the niugrcb prayer which in all 
Mohammedan countries is more strictly observed than the other four 
and is generally begun punctually at sunset, its appointed time. The 
day's work is then as a rule finished and the young men assemble at 
that hour in the mennasak in any case, albeit not for the purpose of 
performing the seumayang. 

If the heads of the village are not particularly zealous and devout, 
and the young men are not impelled to the performance of this duty 
by shame or through fear of some religious teacher, it not unfrequently 
happens that few or none of those present perform the seumayang. 

It is only in the fasting month that prayers are offered up with 
regularity, at least in the evenings; but as we shall see in a later 
chapter the proceedings at these are of such a nature that really pious 
people avoid the neighbourhood of the mennasak as much as possible. 

In some gampongs, however, the mennasak responds better to the 
religious purposes for which it is intended. Not only are the obligatory 
religious exercises held there by a congregation of men under the 
leadership of a tcnngkii, but they sometimes also while away the 
evenings or nights with non-obligatory acts of devoticMi. Trominent 

i) Among the Malays of the I'cninsula such nocturnal separation is practically unknown. 
The manasah^ as the Malays call it, is to be found in some Malay kampongs but by no 
means in all; it is however devoted entirely to religious uses and is not, like the .Xchehnese 
mciiiiasah^ a sort of "club" or common lodging-house as well as a "chapel". The hak'i or 
public meeting house is also a common feature of the Malay kampong. ( Tra/is/a/or). 

2) In Bantgn the village chapel is called ha/i: dcsa^ which seems to point to a similar 
origin to that of the metinasnh. 


among these is the simultaneous intoning of the terribly noisy rateb 
sainan (Ar. ratib Samman, from the saint of that name who lived at 
Medina a couple of centuries ago). This litany is also popular in Java 
and may be heard almost every week in many Batavian kampongs. 

The young people, however, delight more in the chanting of other 
ratebs which have in common with the religious litanies only the name 
and the noise, such as the rateb pulet and the rateb sadati, which we 
shall notice under the heading of games and recreations. Thus there 
are always to be found among the furniture of the niennasali, in addi- 
tion to the tambii aforesaid, certain objects required for these ratebs, 
such as the kettledrums called rapai or rapana, the wooden rings 
known as piilet etc. 

With these exceptions the furniture of the nieiinasali is but scanty ; 
a large lamp (kande) only lighted on the nights of the fasting month, 
it being left at other times to those who use the ineunasah to bring 
their own lamps if they require them ; sleeping-mats which each lays 
down for himself, and an occasional mosquito-curtain [kleumbn) form 
its entire equipment. 

Where the heads of the village are not both pious and watchful, the 
iiwHiiasah it apt to become the scene of all manner of Achehnese ini- 
quities. In its courtyard fights of cocks and other fighting birds arc 
held, while within the building gambling goes on and paederasty is 
shamelessly practised at night. 

Besides being a sleeping-place for the men, a rest-house for strangers 
and a house of prayer or chapel, the ineunasah also serves as a place 
of assemblage on various special occasions. The affairs of the gampong 
are there debated, village festivals held, contracts of marriage concluded 
etc. A person of rank who comes from elsewhere to pay an unexpected 
visit to the people of the gampong, usually goes in the first place to 
the ineioiasak, and from thence sends someone to announce his arrival. 

Some gampong-chapels are built not on posts but on a raised stone Deahs. 
foundation finished on the top with cement. A stone stairs gives access 
to the building which is itself generally of wood, with a masonry niche 
{inehrab or iiierab) to indicate the direction of Mecca. Its courtyard 
is sometimes surrounded by a low stone wall forming a square. Such 
more imposing structures are called deah '), and fulfil the same purposes 

l) This word, whicli is also pronounced il'inh and iflc'ali^ is derived from the .Xrab. 


as the mennasah. There are also however certain teachers of note who 
for their own use and that of their pupils construct a mennasah or 
dealt in their own courtyard. Similar chapels may also be found near 
sacred graves, but the purpose of such buildings is obviously different 
from that of the mennasah or dea/i of the gampong. 

The Friday services are never held in these chapels any more than 
in the langgar in Java. 

In the neighbourhood of the mennasah or deali there often stands 
a bale i. e. a raised covered platform, which serves as auxiliary to 
tlie former. 
Theadminis- Let US now Consider the administration of the gampong. This is 

tration of the 

gampong. Composed of three elements: 

I. The kenchhi with one or more wakis at his disposal. 
II. The tenngkn. 

III. The ureueng tnha. 

All three are worthy of closer remark. 
The kcuchi' I. The kenchi '), the headman or father of the gampong, borrows 
his authority from the uleebalang of the province to which his village 
belongs. This office, like almost all others in Acheh, has become 
hereditary, and even an infant son (under the guardianship of a male 
relation) often succeeds his father therein ; but every kenchi' is aware 
that the first of his forefathers who held the post was appointed by 
the uleebalang and that the latter can at any moment deprive him of it. 

Where the appointment of kenchi s is, as occasionally happens, in 
the hands of the imeum of their district, this simply testifies to the 
great personal influence of such imeum, to whom the uleebalang has 
delegated a portion of his own authority. 

The fact that the keuchi' can as a rule exercise his authority without 
opposition is however due not so much to the support he enjoys at 
the hands of his chief, as to his being always the representative of the 
interests and as far as possible the wishes of the whole gampong against 
the uleebalang himself as well as against other gampongs, or against 
the exaggerated demands of some of his own subjects. It is no empty 
saying which the Achehnese quote to one another in their councils — 

l) This word, which is in its other uses generally abbreviated into chhi\ signifies "old". 
Ureueng chhi' is the exact equivalent of "elders". Teungku or Teuku Chhi' with the name 
of the district added is a very common title of chiefs in the dependencies of Acheh. 


kcuclii' ejunbali, teiingku ;«rt=''the keuchi" is (our) father and the 
teungku (our) mother". 

All peace-loving inhabitants of a gampong are convinced of the 
necessity for having one person to speak or negotiate in the name of 
all ; the more so because as we shall presently see, sundry family 
matters such as marriage, divorce, the bringing up of orphans or 
changes of residence are treated in Acheh as matters affecting the 
whole gampong. Equally convinced are all, that this representative of 
their common interest should be someone who finds favour in the 
eyes of the uleebalang. At the same time he is not likely to become 
too willing a tool in the latter's hands, for he too is an inhabitant of 
the gampong. His office is essentially an honorary one. It is no doubt 
much sought after, but is only desirable when the holder can hit it 
off well with his own people. 

The devolution from father to son is also regarded as natural and 
right, not only because other dignities are hereditary, but also because 
there is in the nature of things stored up in an ancient family of 
keuchi's a collection of traditional knowledge with regard to the laws 
and usages of the country that might in vain be sought for among 

The best of keuchi's would fail to compel his people to obey un- 
reasonable commands. Vain would be his interference with all trifling 
matters not classified in accordance with the adat as "interest of the 
gampong". This he knows too well to run the risk of burning his fin- 
gers. But when the keuchi' emphatically lays down that one of his 
fellow-villagers shall not sell his rice-field to A or marry his daughter 
to B, or himself not wed in gampong X, or must yield to his neigh- 
bour in some disputed right, so little suspicion is entertained of the 
purity of his intentions, that disobedience to his word is rendered 
practically impossible by the agreement of the majority. 

Acheh is certainly to an exceptional degree a land of polyarchy 
and misrule; in vain do we seek for discipline, whilst we meet with 
a quarrelsome and capricious spirit at every step. Taking this into 
account, and disregarding those few individuals of unusual strength of 
will and capacity to lead whom one meets with as exceptions in every 
rank, we can safely assert that the authority of the keuchi' rests on a 
firmer basis than that of any other chief. 

Most keuchi's exercise control over a single gampong only; there 



are, however, some who liave from two to four gampongs in their charge. 

We have already noticed and shall presently deal with in greater 
detail the Achehncse adat according to which the husband takes up 
his abode with the family of his wife. 

In connection with this custom it will be understood that it is par- 
ticularly desirable for a future keuchi' to marry in his own gampong 
as otherwise his place of abode as a married man would lie within 
the sphere of another keuchi', and he would appear in his own 
territory as a stranger and be obliged to lodge in the meiinasah. 

There are however exceptions to the rule that the husband follows 
the wife, and to these belong such cases as that of a keuchi' who 
finds himself constrained by circumstances to marry a woman from a 
different village. With the approval of the family or rather of the 
authorities of the gampong of the woman, the latter may then accom- 
pany her husband to the scene of his official labours. 
Sources of We have called the office of a village headman an honorary one, 
income of the ^ J indeed the sources of income to which he may lay claim according 

keuchi . ■' ° 

to the adat are scarcely worth mentioning. They are in fact confined 
to what is called the ha katih or lia cliupeng, the fees for his indis- 
pensable help in the arrangement of the marriage of a woman of his 
gampong. Even though everyone adds what his means allow to the 
amount, absurdly small for these times, of J- of a dollar {samaili = one 
mas) allowed by the adat, the total income derivable from this source 
remains extremely small. As the keuchi' has no real judicial power, 
the only profit he can obtain from the fines and costs of process which 
the administration of justice brings in to the uleebalang takes the form 
of a present for his trouble in bringing the parties from his gampong 
and collecting the requisite evidence for the questions at issue. The 
same holds good of the percentages levied by the uleebalang on the 
division of heritages and other similar sources of income. 

There are however other methods — part permitted, part under- 
hand, — by which the keuchi' can derive some slight profit from an 
office as burdensome as it is honourable. 

It is no part of his duty to augment the number of lawsuits between 
the people of his gampong; on the contrary he must try, like a good 
father, to bring every difference to an amicable settlement. Suppose now 
that a case presents itself in regard to which he can say with certainty 
that if brought before the uleebalang it would involve payment of a 


considerable fine by the party found to be in the wrong; or suppose 
again that his mediation is called in for the collection of a debt, and 
he can prove by examples that the uleebalang would not assist the 
creditor to recover his due without a deduction of one-third or one- 
half of the amount. Is it to be wondered at that the father of the 
gampong impresses emphatically upon his children the advantage of 
submitting themselves to his decision, and the fairness of giving him for 
his trouble a small share of what they would otherwise undoubtedly lose ? 

An esteemed and intelligent keuchi' is able to give to these arbi- 
trative decisions (for which he is endowed with full powers) a very 
wide range, to his own great advantage and yet not to the detriment 
of the suitors, who know only too well that the judgments they would 
obtain by resorting to chiefs who have less sympathy in their interests, 
would be more costly but no whit better than those of the keuchi'. 

Other services which the keuchi' renders to his dependants are 
performed by him with greater or less readiness and zeal in proportion 
to the amount of the presents ') which "cement friendship" -). The 
"father" on his part can always make such claims on the good-nature 
of his "children" as are recognized as lawful. At all gampong-festivals — 
and these include the most important family feasts as well — the 
place of honour is allotted to the keuchi'. He has thus no lack of 
meals for which he has nothing to pay, and in Acheh such trifles 
form a serious part of the emoluments of office. 

Thus we may say upon the whole that the office of the Achehnese 
keuchi', the "father of the community", is held in high esteem chiefly 
on account of the honour, but also because of the more solid advant- 
ages connected with it. 

As subordinates, who are more properly at the keuchi's disposition 
than the people of the gampong in general, he has his wakis '), liter- 
ally attorneys or deputies. 

)) Presents made to a keuchi' to ensure the proper presentation of a suit to the ulee- 
balang are called ngon bloc ranub i. e. (money) to buy-betel-leaf. Fees to persons of humbler 
rank are called ngbn bioe ie leube'e = "(money) to buy sugar-cane juice" the usual harmless 
beverage of the Achehnese. 

2) The Dutch proverb is iMnegescAcnkenonderAoitifen tfevrien(fscAa/> '^liU\e presents cement 
friendship". It is not a genuine Dutch proverb but is adopted from the French "les petits 
cadeaux entretiennent I'amitie". ( Translator). 

3) From the .-\rab. wakil = attorney or agent. Waki is used in .\chehnese in the same 
general sense. 


Every keuchi' has at least one such subordinate, and where he 
exercises control over more than one gampong, one for each gampong. 
The position taken by the wakis greatly depends on their personal 
characteristics. Some arc not much more than the messengers of their 
keuchi's, while others actually take the place of the father of the com- 
munity in many cases, or even govern him to some extent through their 
greater strength of character. The profits enjoyed by them may be described 
as the gleanings of those which the keuchi' reaps from his office. 

In the dialects of the highlands (XXII Mukims) and of the VII 
Mukims Bueng '), which as we have seen have so mucli in common 
with the Tunong, the father of the community is called ivaki and his 
subordinate keucin, or geiichi as it is there pronounced. 
Authority of It is the duty of the keuchi', assisted by the other authorities of the 
t e euc '-gampong whom he can always summon to his aid, to maintain to the 
best of his ability the good order and safety, and also the material 
prosperity of his domain. Of this prosperity abundance of population 
is regarded as an important factor; and thus a close supervision on 
the part of the "father" over the comings and goings of his "children", 
so far as these might tend to dispersal of the united body, is considered 
as amply justified. 

The keuchi' cannot without difficulty prevent a full-grown man from 
straying away as a pepper-planter to the East or West Coast or else- 
where, however much he may deplore the gap caused by his absence. 
But the wanderer must leave his wife at home; the adat will not 
permit her to accompany her husband except in performing the pil- 
grimage to Mecca or in the rare cases where the wife, after due 
deliberation of the two gampongs concerned, leaves her own house and 
gampong for that of her husband. 

Change of residence of a family to another gampong does not take 
place without the consent of the keuchi', which is equally required for 
a strange household to establish themselves for the first time in his 

No marriage can be concluded without the consent of the keuchi'. 
Only where the population is superabundant and the supply of marria- 
geable girls and women without husbands by no means excessive, will 

i) In Bueng we find a further peculiarity. Under each imeum of a muliim there are 
exactly four wakis or fathers of communities, each of whom with his gampong is responsible 
for one-fourth of the common interests of the district, such as repair of mosques etc. 


he agree offhand to a man of his gampong marrying outside it. "There 
are plenty of women liere", he objects, "why should you go and 
scatter your seed elsewhere ?" This hampering of the freedom of 
marriage, which is based alone on the adat and is positively in conflict 
with the hukotii or religious law, has at present much greater practical 
significance than the adat-theory forbidding intermarriage between 
certain kawoms, which we noticed some time back. 

The keuchi' will rarely raise objections to the marriage of girls of 
his gampong to men from elsewhere; the increase of population due 
to such unions is half of it pure gain. 

As we see, the Achehnese are far from being afraid of over-population. 
The gampong as a whole takes all the more trouble to keep its com- 
ponent parts together and ensure increase of numbers, because the 
individuals are often too little disposed to contribute their share. The 
Achehnese themselves assert that married couples with a number of 
children are very much in the minority; by their own confession they 
make much use both in and out of wedlock of expedients for preventing 
pregnancy or causing miscarriage '). 
The tcuiigkii. II- The teungkit, says the proverb, is the mother of the gampong. 

Teungku is the title given in general to all in Great-Acheh who 
either hold an office in connection with religion or distinguish them- 
selves from the common herd by superior knowledge or more strict 
observance of religious law. In Pidie and on the East Coast the holders 
of worldly offices or worldly distinctions also enjoy the title oi teungku, 
but such persons are in Great-Acheh distinguished by that of teuku. 
The kcuclii" , the pangliiiia, the iiiicuni and the uleebalang are all called 
by the latter title, and so also are wealthy people, elders and even 
persons without any real claim to distinction, by those who regard 
them as their superiors or wish to flatter them. In the case of ulec- 
balangs or distinguished imeums the word iDiipm is affi.xed ^) both in the 

1) Recipes for this purpose are to be found in all the books of memoranda of literate 
Achehnese. These recipes sometimes consist merely in tangkays (formulas) to he recited on 
certain occasions, but more material methods are also recommended in great variety. The 
following is one of the commonest : choose a ripe pineapple, and cut off a piece from 
the top, letting the fruit still remain attached to the stalk. Then take out a little of the 
inside and fill up the space so made with yeast. Close the fruit up again by replacing the 
piece cut off; fasten it up tight and let it hang for another day or two. The fruit is then 
plucked and it is said that the woman who eats it will find it a sure preventive of pregnancy. 

2) For example : Teuku ampon ka geupoh Ion = "Teuku ampon (the uleebalang for instance) 
has beaten me"; and in the 2nd person: Teuku ampon he' marah = "1 pray thee be not angry". 


second ') and third persons. Both the words teungku and tcuku appear to be 
originally contractions of tuanku (my lord) which in its full form, with 
or without the addition of ampon (always with it in the presence of the 
person meant) is only applied to the descendants of sultans. 

The title of teungku ^) is applied both to the leube ') who, even though 
he be no scholar, observes his religious obligations faithfully, the Iiaji 
who has performed the pilgrimage to Mekka, the inalan *) who has 
some knowledge of the kitabs or holy books, the alem ') who has 
brought his studies to perfection, the ulama '*), who is looked upon as 
an authority on the subject of religious law and doctrine, and the 
sayyid {sayet) or descendant of Mohammed. It is also applied to both 
men and women who give elementary instruction (even if it be only 
in reciting the Quran) and to the kalis who act as ecclesiastical judges 
in an uleebalangship, as well as to the male "mother of the gampong" 
with whom we are now concerned. 

This last teungku, when it is necessary to distinguish him from all 
the others who enjoy the same title, is called the teungku ineunasah, 
using the latter word not so much in the sense of the mens' lodging 
as that of the chapel of the gampong. From this it may be seen that 
this office is connected with religion. 

Just as the keuclii devotes himself more especially to maintaining the 
adat, though the promotion of godly living among his people is also 
regarded as a part of his duty, so is the upholding of the hukom (religious 
law) the special province of the teungku, though a knowledge of and 
regard for the customary laws is in his case also regarded as indispensable. 

1) In Achehnese it is less common than in many other native languages of the Archi- 
pelago, to employ titles for the 2nd person. We can say: ban hiikdm Teuku or ban hukom 
Teuku ampon = "as Teuku or Teuku ampon wills"; but it is equally commonly expressed 
by ban hukom dihcneu = "by your will". In assenting politely or submissively to what 
some one has said, the title is simply used by itself teungku! or teuku! or teuku ampon! 
etc. = "exactly so!" 

2) Among the Malays the word tungku is only applied to those of royal blood. Sultans 
are addressed both thus and as tuanku^ which is more honorific. The 2nd personal 
pronoun is never used in addressing persons of distinction; and ampun (= pardon) is 
never used as an affix to tungku^ though it is sometimes prefixed to it as a humble form 
of address. The form teuku has no equivalent in Malay. {Translator). 

3) Leube thus means the same as the Sundanese llbe and the Javanese santri. 

4) From the .\rab. mu'^allim = teacher, master. 

5) From the .^rab. ''alim^ learned man or pandit. The plural ''ulama is also used as 
singular with a slight change of meaning in .\chehnese r.nd other languages of the E. 


llukom and "■HiikoiH and adat are inseparable, even as God's essence and his 
attributes" '), says the Achehnese proverb. To make the sense com- 
plete \vc may well add, "but the greatest of these is adat". This may 
indeed be seen from the attitude of the representatives of these two 
inseparable elements. In most cases, it is true, where a matter affecting 
the interests of the gampong or its inhabitants has to be decided, 
father keuchi' and mother teungku both appear on the stage, but the 
teungku has as a rule little to say, and appears to be present rather 
honoris causa except in matters relating to marriage. We shall see 
presently that the relation between the uleebalang and his kali exhibits 
many points of resemblance to the above, but is if possible still less 
favourable to the hukom. 

As teungku mcunasali it would naturally be the duty of the "mother" 
of the gampong to see that this building answered to some extent 
the religious objects for which it is intended. Such however is very 
rarely the case, and in these exceptional instances it is more due 
to the piety of the keuchi than to the faithful fulfilment of his duty 
by the teungku. Not every teungku is able (and few indeed have even 
the inclination) to appear in the nwunasah and lead the service, at the 
times appointed for the five daily prayers; it is much if he does so 
fairly regularly at sunset (see p. 62 above). 

As regards the furniture of the meunasah he need take little trouble, 
since as we have seen it is exceedingly sparse and most of it is private 
property. The task of sweeping the floor and keeping the kulam (water 
tank) full devolves on the younger occupants of the meunasah. This 
kulam is used for washing the feet or for ritual ablutions by all who 
enter the building and for bathing by the young men. Should the 
latter prove neglectful in the fulfilment of their duties they are remin- 
ded of them by their seniors. 

It is only in the fasting month [Puasa) that the teungku is notice- 
ably the man of the vicunasali. When we come to review the calendar 
of feasts we shall see that during the nights of this month there is a 
great deal of vitality in the uicunasali and that the presence of the teungku 
is indispensable for various matters, but especially for the performance 

1) Hukom tig'on adat han jcticl chre., lagei dat tigon siphciict. Another version is hukom 
nghn adat lag'e'e mata itam tigon ?itata puteh ; hukom hukomolah adat adato/ah. i. e. "Hakom 
and adat are like the pupil and the white of the eye ; the hukom is Allah's hukom and 
the adat Allah's adat." 


of the traweh service (see Chapter II § 2). The popular idea of the 
Achehnese is that the pitrah which the teungku receives from all at 
the end of the fasting month is a sort of payment for this traweh ! 

If the teungku is more or less malhii (skilled in booklore), this will 
tend greatly to increase his revenues, as he will then be called in to 
give his help in all kinds of sickness or other misfortune, and receive 
payment for his ministrations. Sick children will be brought to him 
that he may blow on their heads after muttering a tangkay (prayer or 
formula to lay evil spirits), or else he will be requested to charm some 
water. On such occasions no great demands are made upon the skill 
of the exorcist ; women are often heard to say to those who refuse to 
render such a service on the ground of absolute want of skill, "oh, do 
just blow a little!" 

The teungku is also occasionally the recipient of votive gifts, either 
some flowers from the market, such as the Achehnese delight in attach- 
ing to their head-gear, or dishes with good things of various sorts. 
When a gift of this sort has been vowed to the Prophet, to the saint 
Mirah Sab or Meurasab (who lies buried at Nagore in British India) 
or even to Teungku Anjong, whose tomb is in Gampong Jawa, the vow 
may be fulfilled by handing over the thing promised to a teungku for 
his own use. All that the latter need do is to recite over the gift the 
first chapter of the Quran (the fdtihah), and dedicate the celestial recom- 
pense for that recitation to him to whom the vow was made. 

Beyond these special sources of income (which in cases of total in- 
competence are withheld from the teungku and fall to the share of 
some leube or malem) he has no lack of other more or less obligatory 
presents in kind. For instance, not only is it adat to invite the teungku 
to every kanduri or religious feast, but there are many kinds of kan- 
duris which cannot be held without his presence, even such as do not 
require the attendance of the keuchi'. 

Where the teungku gives religious instruction this again brings him 
in no inconsiderable profit; though here of course some grasp of his 
subject is indispensable. 

The most certain sources of the income of the teungku are : 

i". The pitrah, paid by almost every householder for himself and Sources of 
his family at the conclusion of the fast. It consists of two arcs ofJeyngku 
husked rice for every person so taxable, which includes almost the 
whole community. This tax is, however, sometimes commuted for a 


money payment in the following manner. The teungku sells his own 
rice to his debtor, who then hands back the quantity due as pitrah, thus 
paying the tax according to law "in the staple grain of the country". 

2". The jakeuct [zakat). This is not so regularly paid as the pitrah, 
many contributing a portion only and some none at all. We speak 
only of the rice-zakat [jakeit'ct padc], which consists of one-tenth of the 
harvest. Jakeuct of cattle is seldom or never contributed, and those 
who pay it on gold, silver or merchandise do so entirely of their own 
accord and are equally free in the manner of its distribution. In many 
districts the teungku himself goes to the fields where the crop is 
standing to remind the owners of their obligations. The latter then set 
apart the smallest sheaves and give a portion of these to the teungku, 
keeping the rest for the wandering poor strangers, hajis and converts 
{mualali) who are wont to come and beg for this dole. We shall 
again allude to this custom in dealing with the subject of agriculture. 
In some provinces a considerable portion of the jakeuct and pitrah 
falls into the hands of the uleebalang while the teungku only gets 
the share elsewhere allotted to the "poor and necessitous" (paki and 

3". Money presents for the arrangement of marriages. The fee fixed 
for this purpose by the theoretical adat is merely the ha' katib or 
chupcng of '/'^ of a dollar for the keuchi' ; but as a matter of fact the 
keuchi' gets more and the teungku hardly ever less than a dollar. 
Further mention of this will be found under the heading of marriage. 

4". The ha teuleukin or burial fee. According to the theoretical adat 
this amounts to ^\^ of a dollar for each interment but in practice it is 
generally a dollar or more. The teungku is also presented with the 
ija peiikreng or cloth wherewith the body is dried after the ablution, 
and a certain sum for tahlils '). His help is also required for the cere- 
monies which take place during the first 40 days after the death, and 
for this he receives a further remuneration. All this will be described 
in greater detail when we come to treat of funeral ceremonies. 

5". Various gleanings from the fees of the keuchi' when the teungku 
accompanies the latter on his visits to the uleebalang for the settle- 
ment of profitable suits. 

l) Continuous repetitions of the Mohammedan confession of faith "la ilaha illa'llah" = 
there is no God but God." The merit of this act of piety is supposed to be communicated to 
the deceased, 


There are no doubt some teungkus of capacity, but on the whole 
their ignorance is proverbial. Thus in the common speech of the Acheh- 
nese, when a teungku is specially referred to as teungku meimasah 
(in contradistinction to leubes, nialans, etc.) there is generally a covert 
allusion to his lack of learning. This is not to be wondered at, as the 
office in most cases devolves on the son or nearest male heir of a 
deceased holder of tho post. A child is, however, seldom or never 
made teungku, and the uleebalang more often diverges from the rule 
of devolution in the appointment of a teungku than in that of a 
keuchi'. Still hereditary succession remains the rule. 

It may be well imagined how much more scandalous are the results 
of adhering to this principle in the case of an office for the proper 
discharge of the duties of which some study of Mohammedan law is 
indispensable, than in that of appointments connected with adat, for 
which a practical knowledge of the world is more requisite than 
scholarly lore. A keuchi' of scant experience i? merely a less useful 
man than others of his class, and finds in his gampong plenty of 
people who can supply the gap by advice and practical help ; but an 
unlettered teungku is absolutely useless. 

Many teungkus then simply hand over the discharge of all their 
functions to some better instructed fellow-villager. At the same time 
they make no abdication of their office, and none dares to perform 
their duties without their express authority or invitation. They take 
delivery of the profits themselves, giving some small recompense for 
their trouble to the leubes or malems who act for them. 

The sphere within which the teungku exercises his functions is 
usually a single gampong, or if the gampong has more than one 
meunasah, a single meunasah. 

III. The ureucng tulia, which is the exact equivalent of our word The elders, 
"elders". They are the men of experience, worldly wisdom, good man- 
ners and knowledge of adat in the gampong. They are generally per- 
sons who have reached a certain time of life, but if a younger man 
is distinguished by the above characteristics, he is equally eligible as 
an ureueng tuha '), and is reckoned as one of the body of elders, 
which lends an indispensable support to the keuchi' and teungku. 

l) Ureueng tuha properly means "old people". Like keuchi' which also means "old", 
it conveys in this connection no idea of the actual age of the persons spoken of. [The 
Malays use oratig tua in exactly the same way.] (^Translator.') 


The number of the members of this body is uncertain ; they are 
neither appointed nor regularly chosen but so to speak silently acknow- 
ledged by common assent. When the teungku and keuchi' meet to 
discuss important gampong affairs (including most family matters), the 
elders are also to be found whether summoned or not. No unauthorized 
person ventures to take part in these debates, as by doing so he would 
expose himself to ridicule; but when calls have once or twice been 
made on the tact, experience and knowledge of adat of any individual, 
he becomes known as an urcu'cng titlia and his voice has its weight 
in all future deliberations. 
Mupakai. The Achehnese are great lovers of vnipakat '), in form at least if 
not in actuality. The most insignificant subjects give rise to diffuse ex- 
change of opinions. The more important chiefs are loth to deal with 
questions affecting their districts and their dependants except in the 
presence of some persons who as it were represent the latter; did they 
neglect to "deliberate" with these delegates they would quickly lose 
their influence. Habib Abdurrahman once told me that the nutpakat 
forms the strongest factor in the statescraft of an administrator *) among 
the Achehnese; such deliberative gatherings are the instrument by 
which he ensures the carrying out of many a scheme. By this device 
his weaker opponents are terrorized, while the stronger are flattered, 
and finally many are won over and even persuaded that they them- 
selves were the originators of the proposed plan. 

It thus follows as a matter of course that in the gampong, that great 
household of father keuchi' and mother teungku, the eldest sons at 

1) From the Arab. mtcwTifak a t ^ which word the Achehnese have naturally mistaken for 
a verbal form derived from a root fakat to which they give the meaning of "plan, delibe- 
ration". Mai (or mil before labials) is almost the equivalent of the Malay bir. Thus from 
pat = "place" we have sapai = "in one and the same place" and mettsafat = "to come to 
or be in the same place, to assemble together." In the abortive ordinance of Mr. Der 
Kinderen (p. 2 par. 2 etc.) he has made this latter word a substantive and has at the 
same time changed the first vowel into "u". "These (the native tribunals of whose existence 
in Acheh Mr. Der Kinderen assures us) bear the name of Mus.ipat". These "musapats" 
however belong to the realm of fancy. [Since the Dutch government has become established 
in Acheh, justice has been in fact administered by native tribunals under the guidance of 
European officials, and these courts have been called by the name manufactured by Mr. Der 
Kinderen. But these "musapats" differ greatly both in the manner of their constitution and 
their functions from the creations of Mr. Der Kinderen]. 

2) He meant of course an Achehnese raja or an .\rab of distinction such as Sayyid 
Abdurrahman himself, not an infidel overlord who is simply obeyed on account of his 
temporal power. 

any rate, and such of the citizens as may be regarded as brothers of 
the two parents, have a voice in every discussion. 

In the orations which the Achehnese addresses either directly or by 
proxy to the authorities of his gampong, the prelude always runs thus 
'^Noiv, oh Teuku Keuchi' , Teungku and ye ivlio are elders of this gam- 
pong". To these are also addressed the notices employed on some few 
occasions to announce certain events (such as a divorce for instance) 
to the whole gampong. These three components of the governing body 
of the gampong are deputed to make proposals of marriage, it is they 
that receive the bridegroom in the name of the gampong and help to 
decide questions as to the bringing up of orphans, and in their presence 
all important bargains are concluded. 

Among them also are to be found the speech-makers of the gampong. 
We shall meet later on some specimens of Achehnese speeches for 
particular occasions, which though tedious are sometimes not ungrace- 
ful, and are very full of interest from an ethnological point of view as 
a storehouse of old formulas. 

They are almost invariable in form although there is no lack of 
local differences and individual embellishments. The keuchi' or whoever 
may be acting as president of the assembly does not always know 
these long formal orations by heart, and it is thought quite the correct 
thing for a chief to transfer the task of speech-making to another by 
a nod. In such cases the speaker is usually one of the Jireueng tuha. 

We have seen that the keuchi' and his colleagues take the position xhe adat 
of arbitrators in the widest sense of the word, but possess no judicial™^ "^^"^ 
authority properly so called. There are, however, individual cases which 
are controlled by an adat of native growth, which has clearly lost much 
of its original severity, called the adat ineidangga. In these cases the 
keuchi's appear in form as the representatives of the two parties, but 
as a matter of fact as settlers of the dispute. 

Occasion for the application of the adat ineulangga is generally given 
by an actual injury or slight. For example, someone in gampong A 
has without just cause maltreated or injured a child or relative of 
someone in gampong B, or has laid hands on something belonging to 
the latter in a manner clearly indicative of contempt for the owner. 
Independently of all rights of blood-vengeance or blood-money (which 
according to hukom and adat are the natural consequences of the deed, 
and are entirely unaffected by the adat ineulangga) something must at 


once be done to wipe out the insult. To this end the injured party 
calls upon the authorities of his gampong, and the latter summon all 
who are able to bear arms to help their brother. The party who has 
given the offence knows that he has this to expect, either from hearing 
the rumour of the preparations or because it is an obvious consequence 
that the offended one should not let the matter pass without iiieiilaiigga. 
Here too the authorities of the gampong are notified and prepare for 

In due time the men of the offended gampong appear in the vicinity 
of the other, and the kcuchi' of the latter goes forth to meet the 
uninvited guests and after greeting them respectfully {seinnbah) asks 
what they require. "We have come" they reply, "to uproot by force 
the trees and courtyard-fence of your fellow-villager X, by reason of 
the injury he has done to one of our people". Thereupon the other 
keuchi' says that he feels bound to acknowledge the fairness of the 
complaint, but that this just demand can be satisfied without having 
recourse to deeds of violence. The father of the offending community 
then brings to the other one or two plantain-stems from the courtyard 
and a glundong-tree from the fence of the guilty party, saying "Here 
is what you ask for". Sometimes, where the injury is a very serious 
one, he grants them permission to enter upon the courtyard of the 
offenders and cut down a certain number of trees. Should the atone- 
ment offered by the keuchi' not suffice for the satisfaction of honour 
according to the adat controlling quarrels, long-continued hostilities 
between two neighbouring gampongs may supervene; but for the most 
part the mediation effected under the auspices of the two keuchi's is 
found sufficient. 

The day after this symbolical satisfaction the parties meet again to 
consult as to the guarantees for the establishment of peace. An idang 
of yellow gelatinous rice [bn kiinyct) and a piece of white cloth must 
without fail be offered by the offender for "cooling of the blood of 
others" [pejisiju'c darah gob) which he has shed, as the saying is. To 
this is often added a money present of some considerable amount. 

This method of settling a quarrel is never applied to real cases of 
theft, adultery or homicide, or even of bodily hurt of a serious de- 
scription. The wounds inflicted must be healed before recourse is had 
to menlangga. 

If the injured party is a person of position or a member of the 


family of such a one, or his follower, then something further must be 
done, as tlie injury is regarded as more serious in proportion to the 
high standing of him who is the subject of it. The uleebalang himself 
when one of his folk is the injured party enters the lists not as chief 
or judge but as avenger. Either in person or by one of his next of kin 
as deputy, he goes forth at the head of a host of followers to the 
gampong of the offenders, where he is received with special tokens of 
humility and prayers for pardon. 

In addition to the traditional plantain-stalks and glundong-trees which 
represent the destruction of the plantation of the guilty party, the 
latter's house must in this case be symbolically burnt. Accordingly a 
hut [jambo) is constructed of slight materials and set on fire amid the 
plaudits [sura) of the avengers. Though all are aware that this burning 
is the veriest farce, great insistence is laid upon its performance in 
serious cases. The dependants of the chief can afterwards proudly say 
to the people of the surrounding gampongs: "Saw ye not the smoke 
rise from the burning of the house of X ? Yes, we are no Niasese slaves 
or Klings to let ourselves be injured without exacting vengeance, or 
to content ourselves with a mere indemnity!" 

Destruction of house and courtyard, probably accompanied by bodily 
hurt or even death to the owner ') was the original inciilangga as the 
word itself (cf. the Malay langgar) implies. 

More peaceful times and calmer manners have substituted for this 
the dramatic exhibition we have just described, a sort of gampong- 
duel, usually of quite a harmless character. 

Meidangga may take place within the gampong also, when anyone 
has injured his fellow-villager. It is then the male relatives of the in- 
jured party that proceed to make the demand, and those of the offen- 
der who satisfy it, while the gampong authorities merely take care that 
no excess is committed. 

In conclusion, it sometimes happens that one uleebalang has to 
nienlangga upon the territory of another. Suppose for instance that a 
servant (rakan) of uleebalang A has wounded a dependant of uleeba- 
lang B without clear proof of strong provocation. After preliminary 
notice B proceeds with his followers to some place within A's territory 

l) This may be concluded from the words in which those who come to meulangga still 
announce their demands: "We come to slay X, to burn his house and to raze his hedge 
and g.arden to the ground". 


and demands of him that the house of his guilty dependant be burned 
down. A small hut brought thither for tlic purpose is generally burnt 
to satisfy the claim, and thus honour is appeased; for the rest the 
case is dealt with in tlic ordinary manner, the blood-debt being made 
good in accordance with the adat. 

§ 6. The Mukim and its Administration. 

The Mukim. Between the gampong-authorities and the uleebalang or territorial 
ruler stand the imeums, the chiefs of the Diiikims. We have already 
concluded in regard to a certain portion of the political structure of 
Acheh, that it owes its origin to the centralizing activity of one or 
more port-kings. The same analogy holds good beyond question as 
regards the distribution of the territory of an uleebalang into the 
districts known as mukims and the office of imeum or district chief. 
We might even go further and assert that this institution has sprung 
from the influence of the ulamas and other representatives of religion 
at which we have already hinted (see p. 7 above). In this way alone 
can we explain the fact that a political distribution not Achehnese in 
origin has «6tablishcd itself in a fairly uniform manner both in the 
three sagis or main divisions of the kingdom and in its subordinate 
parts as well. 

It is difficult to determine to what particular prince we should ascribe 
the subdivision into mukims. Whoever he was, he did not in all pro- 
bability invent it of himself; something of the kind originated of its 
own accord in those parts of the country most subject to the influence 
of religion, and was later extended over the whole territory by the 
activity of the ulamas. It is certain, however, that the real intention 
of this political innovation failed in the long run. 
Original '^^c nature of this intention may at once be seen from the names, 
intenuon ofj/,^^.^'^^^ jg ^^ Arabic word, the proper meaning of which is the inha- 

the subdivi- ' ' ° 

sion into bitant of a place. The Mohammedan law, as interpreted by the Shafiite 

Mukims. ,,,.,.,. ■ ^ , , , , . 

scliool which IS dominant in Acheh, teaches that in order to form a 
quorum for a Friday service the presence of at least forty free male 
mukims of full age is required '). If the number falls short of forty. 

l) We may remark in passing that as soon as the Law began to make a technical use of 
this word, it became necessary to define closely the length of residence which suffices to 

those assembled must hold in place of the Friday service an ordinary 
midday prayer. In places where the number of forty can never be 
reckoned on, no arrangements whatever are made for the Friday ser- 
vice ; hence in the gampong chapels in Acheh as well as other parts 
of the Archipelago the requisite apparatus for this service is never to 
be found. 

On the other hand the Moslim law requires of every free male be- 
liever of full age that he should attend the Friday service if such be 
held within a certain distance of his abode, unless circumstances (which 
in their turn are clearly defined) prevent him from doing so. From this 
personal duty he is by no means excused on the ground that there 
is, for example, a full congregation of forty without him. Thus pious 
and influential Mohammedans must make it their object to multiply 
the opportunities for attending this service, and to further the erection 
of mosques for Friday prayer ') in all places where a congregation of 
forty or upwards can be reckoned on. 

In Acheh as well as elsewhere the devotees of religion have un- 
doubtedly laboured in this direction since the time that the creed of 
Islam began to take root there. Where a number of gampongs lay 
sufficiently close to one another to admit of their being united into a 
single Friday association (if we may so term it) in accordance with the 
above-mentioned behests of the religious law, they constructed a mosque 
{meuseugit), choosing for the purpose the most central possible site. 
This might sometimes fall within one of the gampongs so united, where 
this gampong happened to form the central point of the union, or 
again a place lying without all the gampong enclosures might be con- 
sidered the most suitable position. For some of these associations the 
gampongs of which are most widely dispersed and at the same time 
most numerous (some include from lo to I2) "district" would be the 
most applicable name. Others, whose gampongs rather resemble "wards" 

constitute a man a miikhit of any given place. Tlius we find some persons who according 
to our ideas are not in any sense inliabitants of a community, regarded l3y the Mohammedan 
law as its miikims. This word has in Kedah the same modified meaning as in Acheh 
(Newbold, British Settlements in the Straits of Malacca II: 20); and the peculiarity that in 
the former place each mukim consisted originally of at least 44 families, is a clear indication 
of the original intent of this territorial subdivision. 

i) Called y'<7«;'' or masjiJ jami'' in Arabic, to distinguish tliem from the smaller mosques. 
In the Indian Archipelago they are usually termed masjii/ (»idsi:^i/ etc. : Achehaese niiiiseiigif 
or sfii»u'i/^ii) in contradistinction with /aiiggar^ taju\ balc.^ siirau etc. (Ach. meunasali). 


lying side by side and do not generally exceed four, the normal number 
in Acheh, might more fitly be termed "townships". The Achehnese 
call them all miikim; such distortion of the original meaning of Arabic 
words is no rare phenomenon in the native languages of the Indian 
The imeums. p^^ f^^g^ ^j^g chiefs of the mukims had without doubt a wholly or 
largely religious task to fulfil, namely to provide that God's law should 
be enforced and especially that the prescribed rites should not be 
neglected. Their official title of iiiiciiiii (Ar. imam), brings them into 
close connection with the meuseugit, which forms the centre of their 
sphere of action, and with the religious worship held therein '). They 
should be for the mosque what the teungku is for the meunasah. 

The Achehnese mosque difters little from the deah described above 
(see p. 63). Like the latter it is built of planks and rests not on posts 
but on a raised stone foundation, and is provided with a stone niche. 
Close to the niche stands a pulpit {himha from Ar. viimbar). There is 
also the traditional staff [tungkat] which the preacher holds in his hand, 
and some mats for those who perform the seumayang or service of prayer. 

Certain mosques the erection of whicli is among the institutions 
ascribed to the Sultan Meukuta Alam (1607 — 36) were recognized as 
"great mosques" [meuseugit raya) both on account of their size and 
the fact of their being erected by a sovereign prince, and also because 
they were regarded as being the head mosques of a great number of 
mukims. Such is the great mosque par excellence, the Meuseugit Raya 
of the capital, from which tlic whole district surrounding the ancient 
seat of royalty takes its name. Besides this there was one for each of 
the three sagis of Great Acheh viz. that of Indrapuri, which still 
exists, for the XXII Mukims, that of Indrapeurua (in the VI Mukims 
of the XXV) for the XXV, and that of Indrapatra, almost in the 
very place where Ladong now stands, for the XXVI Mukims. Of the 
last two scarcely any trace remains. In Pidie too there were a number 
of mosques which enjoyed the reputation of having been erected by 
Meukuta Alam and which were thus also called meuseugit raya. 

It is impossible now to trace the extent of the supervision over the 

l) The use of the word imam in the sense of the chief of a state or community is almost 
entirely limited to books. Where used it always means the supreme authority. It is quite 
out of the question that the name of the Achehnese office should have been originally used 
in this sense. 


• gampongs allotted to the imeums according to the original intent of 
the distribution into miikims. In Acheh as in other Mohammedan 
countries, so soon as a degree of religious supervision is permitted to 
any individual, a wide field is opened to his ambition, since in theory 
everything can be brought within the scope of religion and religious 
law. At the same time the door is opened to manifold competition 
and strife, since the existing chiefs naturally set their faces against any 
unwonted invasion of their sphere of authority. 

So much is certain, that the imeums were necessarily always subor- 
dinate to the uleebalangs, to whom they owed their election, while 
they stood superior in some respects at least to the authorities of the 
Degeneiation Their office, however, speedily degenerated ; it went the way of all 
of imeum'. Achehnese offices which have not sprung up of their own accord from 
native sources, but have been naturalized in the country at the will 
of individuals. In the times of some sultans of unusual power and 
energy, the central authority undoubtedly proved strong enough to 
carry out the ruler's wish to reform existing institutions. But to ensure 
the durability of such reforms, the moving power should have been 
less short-lived, and there should have been more continuity in the 
action and methods of the various rulers. 

Apart from the small interest ivhich the port-kings were wont to 
display in the affairs of the interior, their government was always based 
on rapacity, and disorder was its only constant feature. 

Every office instituted by them showed a tendency soon after coming 
into being, to assimilate itself with one of true Achehnese origin, 
preferably such as carried with it social influence and opportunities for 
enrichment. No office was more distinguished by these characteristics 
than that of uleebalang, and thus we see all holders of offices so arti- 
ficially created endeavouring by every means in their power to assume 
the role of uleebalang. 

This was done by the imeuvis among the rest, and they succeeded 
pretty well in their object. We have unequivocal proofs to show that 
more than half a century ago, the imeums were already minor uleebalangs. 
A celebrated Achehnese heroic poem, the liikayat Pbchiit Muliaiiiat, 
depicts with no small skill the conflict waged by that prince in behalf 
of his brother Alaedin Juhan Shah (1756 — 60) against the latter's Arab 
rival Jamalul-alam. In spite of sundry embroideries which characterize 


this poem, it is to be noted that it was composed shortly after the 
war which it describes, and gives upon the whole an accurate descrip- 
tion of the events and condition of things at that period. Here, then, 
we find the imcuiiis appearing as mihtary leaders among whom the 
prince seeks his supporters, and as chiefs who of their own initiative 
take the part of the hero or oppose him. It is clear from this epic 
that even at that time some of the imeums troubled themselves little 
about the ulcebalang, to whom they were nominally subordinate, whilst 
others appear in the retinue of their chiefs as minor uleebalangs. 

So it has continued. The imeums are all adat-chiefs without any present cha- 
religious character. Some of them have attained to the independence ■'^'^'^'^ of the 

^ ^ office of 

of uleebalangs and lack the name only; wc need only instance the imeuni. 
well-known imeum of Liicng Bata who played so distinguished a part 
in the war with the Dutch as a military leader, or the imeum of 
Chade" who in the last conflict for royal honours before the Achehnese 
war was the most powerful supporter of the finally defeated candidate. 
The majority are, however, actually subordinate to their uleebalangs, 
though the energy of individuals may reduce their subordination to a 

With the mosques, which were the cause of their first creation, they xhe perso- 
cither do not concern themselves at all (this depends on their personal °eileo't"e 

' '^ mosque. 

character) or only just as much as any uleebalang who interests him- 
self in religion. The personelle of the mosque in Acheh when complete, 
consists of the self-same group of three '), which we find elsewhere in 
Sumatra ; the inwiini ''■) who should properly preside at all the daily 
prayers as well as at the Friday service, the hatib [cliatib], who takes 
the lead in the Friday prayers and the bileu'e {bildl) who intones the 
call to prayer [adan, bang) and keeps the furniture of the mosque 
in order. 

l) The Malays have besides the three here named, a fourth mosque official called the 
Siak, Pgnghulu Mukim or Pgnghulu Mesjid. His duties are the last of those assigned to 
the hila/ in the text; those of the latter are according to Newbold (British settlements in 
the Straits of Malacca p. 249) mainly sacrificial, but as a matter of fact the bilal only 
intones the bang or call to prayer, and it is the imam who recites the talkin or funeral service 
over the grave. The bilal often performs the duties of shrouding and washing the dead, but 
he does this only as an eligible elder, as any devout person who knows the ceremonial 
rules in these matters may perform the task. (^Traits/ator.) 

2) Imeum here does not of course mean the chief of the mukim, but a servant of the 
mosque who derives no influence whatever from his office. 


The officials of the mosque are usually ignorant men, and whenever 
they can find others more devout and learned in the law they gladly 
make over their duties to them. Should such be wanting, the persoiwlle 
of the mosque is often insufficient and it rests on chance from week 
to week whether the I'Viday service shall be held or replaced by an 
ordinary midday prayer. Sometimes again the congregation of 40 males 
falls short, and sometimes no one can be found who is able to read 
a sermon. 
The Friday Complaints of ulamas and other pious persons as to the lack of 


interest in public worship are universal. Should a mosque fall into 
disrepair, the greatest difficulty is experienced in collecting the neces- 
sary funds and building materials for its restoration. The general co- 
operation for the re-building of the Mensetigit Raya or principal mosque 
of Acheh, which took place in the prime of Habib Abdurrahman's 
activity, is always quoted as an exception to the rule. Such an unusual 
personality, revered by many and dreaded by the rest, is required in 
order that even the most moderate demands of religion may be satis- 
fied. The true Achehnese, if he does not entirely neglect the calls of 
his creed, takes part with more zeal in the religious or quasi-religious 
gatherings in the mcunasah than in the assemblages at the mosque, 
where he feels himself but half at home. 

Kanduris (religious feasts) he gives and attends with pleasure ; at 
ratebs or recitations, whether real or only imitative \C^G.\}s\^rateb sadati 
and piilct, he can excite himself to the highest pitch; but the ritual 
prescribed by the law fails to rouse his enthusiasm. 

It is not surprising then that an imeuin who tries to assume the part 
of leube or theologian is from his very rarity an almost ludicrous 
object in Acheh. The real imeum goes armed like the uleebalang, with 
an armed following. His position is at once to be gathered from his 
distinctive appellation which is taikn and not tcungku, the latter being 
in Great Acheh the title of all who borrow their rank to some extent 
from religion. By his own dependents in his capacity of chief of the 
mukim, he is even exalted to the dignity of teuku anipon when ad- 
dressed directly. 

This office also is generally hereditary '), subject to the power of 
appointment and dismissal vested in the uleebalang. 

i) See p. 65 alcove. 


Having seen that hardly anything still survives of the original func- 
tions of the imeuni, it now remains for us to describe those which 
have arisen in its place. 

The imeum is regarded by the gampongs subject to him as a sort 
of acting uleebalang, and the latter employs him as his deputy in 
making known and helping to carry out his commands and decisions 
within his (the imeum's) jurisdiction. In some parts of the XXII 
Mukims which are situated too far from the headquarters of the ulee- 
balang to admit of all matters of importance being subjected to his 
decision, the adat has assigned a measure of judicial authority to spe- 
cified boards of imeums. Groups of three or four mukims are united 
for this purpose, and the decision of the three or four imeums has the 
same force as that of the uleebalang '). 

This is however exceptional; as a rule the imeuni lias just as little 
judicial authority as the heads of the gampongs, but in the quality 
of arbitrator he can deal with questions that lie outside the reach of 
the village authorities, inasmuch as more than one gampong is con- 
cerned in them. As his income depends entirely on chance profits, he 
naturally makes it his object to bring as many such questions as pos- 
sible witliin his own scope, always on the pretext of acting as mediator, 
so that his clients may avoid the heavy fines and costs exacted by 
the uleebalang. 

Under a powerful uleebalang the imeum is not much more than a 
go-between ; under a weak uleebalang an energetic imeum can within 
the limits of his own jurisdiction entirely supplant his chief. Not un- 
frequently an imeum when called on by the uleebalang to come to 
his assistance with his followers in time of war, simply remains inactive 
or even categorically refuses. In times of disorder especially, such as 
the present, when parties are being formed by others than the tradi- 
tional chiefs, considerable independence is attained by many imeums. 
As we have already shown, however, many of them succeeded in 
emancipating themselves from control in earlier times as well. 

l) Examples of such unions are Lam Lheue, Lam Kra', Krueng Ma' and Ateue'; Sibree, 
Ba'et and a part of Lam Ara; another part of Lam .Ara, Aneu' Gle ard Jrue'. 


§ /. The uleebalangships and their constitution. 

The iilec- The ulijobalungs, as \vc have repeatedly said, are the lorils of the 
balangs. . ^ ,, ,„, , n i i 

country, the territorial chiefs par excellence. 1 hey are thus called the 

rajas (in Achehnese parlance -- chiefs) of their territories in writings as 
well as in the spoken language. As the word ulccbalang signifies mili- 
tary leader, it is not inconceivable that this name was given them 
under one of the most powerful of the port-kings, who endeavoured 
to render them subordinate and allowed them the command over the 
fighting men in their districts, while he tried gradually to monopolize 
the supreme power for himself. This effort however, was unsuccessful, 
for the uleebalangs have always continued governors, judges and military 
leaders in their own countr)-, in which as a matter of fact they admit 
no higher authority. 

The territory of an uleebalang has no distinctive name in Achehnese, 
like "mukim" and "gampong". The expression "ulecbalangschap" has 
been adopted by the Dutch, while the Achehnese speak of "the country 
{nanggrb'e) of uleebalang so and so" or of "the so many nuikims". For 
the sake of clearness and distinction they sometimes unite the two 
expressions as in '^ tlie seven Miikims Baet" i. e. the ulcebalangship 
consisting of seven mukims, whose chief is called Teuku Muda Ba'et. 

Although the title borne by these chiefs may have been derived 
from the court at Banda-Acheh, their authority is beyond all doubt of 
more ancient origin and dependant on no royal letters-patent. Their 
position was confirmed, not created, by the port-kings. Even the edicts 
of the most powerful rajas of Acheh express themselves with much 
circumspection touching the uleebalangs, which shows that these rajas, 
while endeavouring to establish a kind of hegemony, understood that 
they would do better to respect the powerful position of these poten- 
tates of the interior. 

The ruling of the adat Meukuta Alam ') that the uleebalangs should 
receive no letters-patent of appointment from the sultan, was prompted 
by the consideration that they received their office as an inheritance 
from their forefathers. This rule however appears to have been forgotten 
later on ; at least now-a-days both uleebalangs and chiefs of depen- 

l) See Van Langen's Aljchsch Siaatsliesttiiiy^ pp. 401 and 437. 


dencies regard their rights as by no means dependent on such letters- 
patent, though both one and the other set some value on them as an 
embelHshmcnt of their rank. 

Before leaving the subject of the relation of the uleebalangs to the Confedera- 
tions. The 

three sagis. 


sultanate, which will be dealt with more fully when we come to 
speak of the sultans themselves, we must make one or two remarks 
on the confederacies of the uleebalangs. We have seen that Acheh proper, 
outside the limits of the actual sultanate, is divided into three sagbi'S 
(sagis) or « angles", each of which is composed of a certain number of 
mukims whence they derive their names viz. Dtia ploh dua (the XXII 
Mukims), Dua ploh nam (the XXVI Mukims) and Tfiingbh lltec ploh 


(the XXV Mukims). We may notice in passing tliat tlie gradual in- 
crease of population gave rise here and there (and especially in the 
XXII Mukims) to the formation of new mukims within the limits of 
such a sagi '), so that its name does not always correspond with its 
actual proportions. The question that excites our special interest is — 
to what are we to ascribe the origin of this distribution and what has 
been its significance in regard to the political life of Achch? 

The first question, like most enquiries into the history of Acheh, 
does not admit of a decisive answer. In the historical notes in the 
possession of some of the Achehnese chiefs, we meet with the state- 
ment that the distribution into sagis came into being in the reign of 
the sultana Nurul-alam Nakiatodin (1675 — 77)^)- But such traditions are 
of very little value. To judge of their reliability we have only to 
reflect that many Achehnese at the present time attribute the intro- 
duction of Islam into their country to the saint Cheh Abdora'oh (Ab- 
dura'uf = Teungku di Kuala), although it is clearly established that 
this man lived no earlier than the 17th century. If we might assume 
that the institution of panglimas of sagis was brought about by a royal 
edict with the view of emphasizing the authority of the sovereign over 
all the uleebalangs ^), it would appear very extraordinary that it should 
have attained its consummation under the weak rule of a sultana. 

The highest significance which I should venture to ascribe to the 
historical note in question is this, that under the weak female rule which 
was highly favoured by the uleebalangs for reasons easy to conceive, 
the latter were able to bring it to pass that every succession to the 
throne should take place in conformity with the decision of the repre- 
sentatives of the three sagis. Sagis, that is to say confederations of 
uleebalangships, had however undoubtedly been long in existence before 
they succeeded in bringing the sultanate like an infant under their 
joint guardianship. 

Were it otherwise, and had the sagis been artificially constituted by 
the sultans or sultanas, they would have fallen into disuse again after 
the lapse of the shortlived period of prosperity of the port-kingship. 

This has not taken place. It is true that there has been no lack — 

1) Thus the sagi of the XXII Mukims now contains 37, or 46 if we include the V'll 
Mukims Pidie {Mukim Tujoh)\ the latter are really g in number. 

2) See also Van Langen's Atjehsch Slaatsbestuitr p. 393. 

3) Van I.angen, Aljehsch Slaalsbeslutir p. 392. 


what else could be expected in Acheh — of quarrels and even petty 
wars between uleebalangs and imeums belonging to the same confe- 
deracy, and the people under the jurisdiction of the same uleebalang 
have always felt more united in mind and purpose with one another 
than with their other brethren of the same sagi. Still the great mass 
of chiefs and dependants of any one sagi are understood to form a 
single united body. This may be regarded as due to propinquity, 
similarity of manners and dialect and above all community of interest. 

The origin of such confederacies is to be ascribed to the force of 
circumstances. From ancient times, and still more in former years than 
at the present day, internal conflicts and wars of every description 
have been the order of the day in Acheh. Just as the gampongs which 
standing alone would have lain at the mercy of the first freebooter, 
protected themselves by uniting under a single uleebalang, so must 
the uleebalangs in their mutual strife have perceived the usefulness of 
offensive and defensive alliances with their neighbours. 

It of course remained open to all of them in case of need to seek 
their allies where they would. Nor was the federation so close as to 
prevent an occasional defection, or an absence of readiness to burn 
their fingers on behalf of their allies — a characteristic by no means 
confined to Acheh. Self-interest has always been the ruling motive, but 
for this very reason we must admit that the uleebalangships which 
united themselves into sagis had in reality abiding communities of in- 
terest ; otherwise the very name of the institution would scarce have 
survived '). 

That each federation felt the necessity for a single head, and chose The pangli 
to this end the most powerful and influential uleebalang from their "'* 
midst, is an obvious result of what has been said. The authority of 
such a panglima sagi extended however only to matters of general 
interest. For the rest the remaining uleebalangs governed their own 
territories just as though there were no sagi in existence. 

All authority in Acheh is in the highest degree personal. Rank is 
acquired by inheritance, but whether its possessor exercises the in- 
fluence that attaches to it depends on his individual characteristics. 
Thus although the rank of panglima sagi became heritable in the 

O There are in Pidie also federations of the same sort. Just as .■\cheh has its XXII 
Mukims of Panglima Polem, so we find in Pidie the XXII Mukims of Bentara Keumangan, etc. 


family of him who at the conclusion of the alliance was recognized by 
his fellows as chief, this could not prevent the inheritors of the office 
from being outvied by others at a later period. Still the feeling of 
respect for tradition in Acheh is great enough to leave the name and 
certain outward forms intact. 

There was besides the usual conflict between one who is endowed 
with a loosely defined supremacy and those who find themselves sub- 
jected to it; on the one hand eagerness to shake off the yoke as far 
as possible, and on the other efforts after extended power '). 

Wars and other such special crises always showed whether the 

panglima sagi had inherited the influence as well as the rank of his 

forefathers; in times of comparative order and repose he was and still 

is a mere uleebalang like the rest. 

Uleebalangs We may here make cursory mention of two other sorts of uleeba- 

of the Sultan. 

langs, who exercise no authority within the three sagis. The first is 
the uleebalang pbteu, i. e. "uleebalangs of our lord (the Sultan)", who 
either held a position of trust within the Sultan's own territory, or 
filled a high post at Court, or else owed their titles simply to the 
royal favour. Such offices are hereditary like the rest. The second is 
to be found among certain of tlie chiefs in the outlying dependencies 
who take some pride in adopting the title of uleebalang as a general 
designation of their rank. The chiefs in Acheh proper who rather look 
down on these aspirants, are wont to remark in contradiction of their 
claims, that the rulers of the dependencies are really only keujriicns 
(kejuruan) or iiuuntrbes [mantri) no matter what titles they may have 
gained from chance, royal favour or their own arrogance. 
,\ttendants To return to the uleebalangs of Acheh proper, we find then that they 
balanc ^"^^ both rajas, military commanders and judges in their own territories. 

For the exercise of their authority they have the following helpers: 
Bantas. a. Their younger brothers or more distant next-of-kin, generally 

known by the name of bantas. Of these one is the bantu ^) par excel- 
lence, the ulcebalang's right-hand man. His duties are something like 
those of the patih of a Javanese princedom or regency. 

1) As to this sec also Van Langen's Aljchsch Staaisbfsluur^ p. 398. 

2) It must not however be always assumed from the occurrence of this word in the 
proper name or official title of a chief, that the latter is acting or has acted as a banta. 
In consequence of the devolution of titles by inheritance, it often happens that a man 
whose ancestor was a banla bears this title without any respect to his present rank. 


b. Their rakans (prop. = "companions") i. e. the followers who live Rakans. 
in their house or its immediate neighbourhood and receive from them 

food and clothing for themselves and their families. To these are 
sometimes added the urcu'cng salali as they are called, persons who 
have been enrolled in the following of the uleebalang by way of pu- 
nishment for some offence or for debt. 

c. The panglima prang also ranks to some extent as a member of 
the uleebalang's suite. Anyone who has distinguished himself on some 
few occasions as a warrior is raised (in just the same way as the 
panglima kaiuom '), to the rank of panglima prang, a rather empty 
dignity if considered alone. The weapons {sikin panjang and reunchong) 
which he receives from the uleebalang on his appointment, he must 
return to him again if he should ever embrace the cause of an enemy 
of the latter. 

In times of peace these officers have no share in the government 
or administration of justice; in war the amount of confidence reposed 
by the uleebalang in his panglima- prang as leaders of his fighting men 
depends on the personal qualities of the chief himself. 

In ordinary life the title panglima is given to anyone who is known 
to have taken a share in warlike operations on some few occasions; 
the abbreviation pang serves as a minor distinction. In Acheh proper 
as well as the subordinate districts there is in most gampongs of im- 
portance one person who bears the title of panglima prang, but these 
so-called "war-chiefs" have really nothing to do with war, being only 
the messengers or attendants of the chiefs. 

d. A further measure of help is derived by the uleebalangs from the imeums and 
imcums and kcitcln's within his jurisdiction. These however represent 

other interests also besides those of their uleebalang, and are thus only 
conditionally at his disposal. 

e. For the administration of justice the uleebalang avails himself of 
the services of a kali {kddlii), whom he himself nominates. The juris- 
diction of this officer, as we shall immediately see, is limited to certain 
minor portions of the family law, and he does nothing except at the 
command or with the approval of his chief. A more important section 
of judicial work, which rests almost entirely on adat, is taken out of 

l) See p. 46 above. We have thus three kinds of panglimas of vastly different position : 
the panglima sagi, who is in name at least one of the principal uleebalangs, the panglima 
kawum or chief of a tribe, and the panglima prang here described. 


the hands of the uleebalang by the so-called friendly settlements 
effected by his imcums and keuchi's. 

How far the uleebalang can, in the event for example of a hostile 
invasion of his territory, reckon upon the hel[) of the above-mentioned 
officials and of his subjects in general, depends entirely on his personal 
tact and energy and the influence of his family connections. Though 
the bantas are his relatives, he must find means to attach them to his 
cause ; the rakans elope if sufficient attention is not paid to their 
maintenance; the imeums and keuchi's in times of difficulty and danger 
will only follow an uleebalang who is able to inspire them with fear 
or with aftection, and otherwise remain inactive or even lend their 
support to the enemy. Furthermore, the chief who has powerful allies 
outside his own territory can always exert more influence over his 
own people. 

There is hardly any trace of systematic management in regard to 
affairs of general interest. The maintenance of public order is effected 
by the punishment of open oftenders, unless the offence has been 
already avenged either privately (as in most cases of manslaughter, 
hurt or other personal acts of violence) or through the adats controll- 
ing the dwellers in the gampongs. 
Adminisira- We now comc to the administration of justice. We know that the 
'j'°°°j.^"j',"" Mohammedan law requires independent judges [kddhis or their depu- 
ties) who are indeed appointed by the head of the community but 
who, though liable to dismissal for neglect of duty, need never conform 
to the will of temporal authorities but alone to the all-ruling law of 
Allah. I have repeatedly drawn attention to the fact that this ideal is 
never even appro.ximately attained. 
Adminisira- This may be partly ascribable to the desire of all Mohammedan 

tion of justice i , i- i • i i -i • -i.! r ^i i 

in Moham- ''"'^'"•^ ^'^ monopolize power, which makes it impossible for them to 
niedan coun- tolerate in their neighbourhood independent judges with so wide a 


generally, jurisdiction. But there is more than this: the Mohammedan law is 
unfitted for the practical administration of justice '), among other 

l) The ideal character of the Mohammedan law, developed as it was for the most part 
in the schools, out of reach of all close connection with the real requirements of daily 
life, has been described by the author in Mohammedaansch recht en rechtswelenschap (In- 
dische Gids 1886) and De fiqh en de vergehjkende rechtsvietenschap (Rechtsgeleerd Magazijn 
1886) and by Dr. Ign. Goldziher in Muhnmmedanisches Rechl in Theor'u und Wirkluhkeit 
(Zeitschrift fiir vergleichende Rechtswissenschaft, vol. VIII). A further striking example of 


reasons because it greatly hampers the detection of crime, imposes 
impossible demands on witnesses and fails to take cognizance of histo- 
rical changes. 

As the Mohammedan law itself excludes on principle all intrinsic 
reform, rulers have everywhere found themselves compelled to provide 
a practical method of administering justice, and this they have done 
by constituting themselves the judges in all cases, following partly the 
prevailing custom of the country and partly their own inclination. 

Respect for the admittedly perfect religious law (described in self- 
justification as too good for modern society) made a twofold concession 
desirable ; first the admission of an appeal to the divine law, of which 
license it is well known that advantage will hardly ever be taken, 
and secondly the handing over to the kadhi of the decision of such 
cases as are more especially regarded as being of a religious nature, 
including the law relating to families. 

The first of these two concessions is wanting in the judicial institu- Adat and 
tions of most peoples of the Indian Archipelago. In its place it is ^^^ ;„ the 
represented as being God's will that the adat (conceived as the ancient '"'^'^" ^''- 

"^ chipelago. 

law of the land in the broadest sense of the word, altered but little 
by the spirit of Mohammedanism) and the hukom or religious law should 
govern side by side '), though in practice the former plays by far the 
larger part. 

But in Acheh even the jurisdiction in matters affecting the family 
has not been entirely made over to the kali. The latter's most usual 
duties are: 

a. The declaration of the pasah (fasch), the judicial dissolution of a 
marriage at the instance of one of the parties. Even this is only done 
by the kali by the authority of the uleebalang specially given in each 
case. The usual recompense to the kali for such a sentence is four 
dollars. To this is sometimes added a handsome fee for the uleebalang, 
especially when the grounds of a woman's request for pasah are of 
doubtful sufficiency. 

b. Acting as the ivali of maidens who wish to get married, and whose 

directly contradictory rules in regard to questions of the highest importance, which find 
authoritative supporters even within each of the four orthodox schools, is supplied by the 
admirable description of the Waqf-Iaw of the Hanafites by J. Krcsmarik in the Zeitsclirift 
iter Dcutsclicn Morgenldnd. Gesellscliaft^ Band XLV. 511 et seq. 
i) See pp. 14 and 72 above. 


proper walis by kinship are either dead or reside at a distance (the 
limits of which are fixed by the law) from the home of the bride. 

The fees for this service vary according to circumstances, just Hke 
that given to the teungku meunasaii for concluding marriages, one of 
his duties under the adat. 

c. Taking the lead in the very customary bale victtdeitliab, a curious 
evasion of the law, through which the Achehnese consider themselves 
justified in marrying girls who are not of age, even though the autho- 
ritative walis (those in the ascending line) are wanting. Further details 
on this head will be found in our description of the marriage law. In 
this case again the regular fee is four dollars. 

d. Making the requisite calculations for the division of inheritances, 
a task which the uleebalang is of course unable to perform for him- 
self. The latter however in such cases uses his kali simply as an ac- 
countant, as he wishes to keep the control of such matters in his own 
hands. The uleebalang receives the io"/y commission allowed him by 
the adat as lia pra'c or succession duty, and even assumes control of 
the shares of absent heirs and some of those under age, the usual 
result being that these shares are considerably diminished or entirely 

For making these calculations, which are in all essentials worked out 
in accordance with the Mohammedan law (v. inf. in our description of 
customs connected with decease) the kali gets simply such recompense 
as the uleebalang may choose to allow him. 

In all other cases or suits brought before the uleebalang, the kali as 
a rule holds aloof. This is because not only the system of evidence 
adopted, but also the sentences passed, are in such direct conflict with 
the sacred law that the presence of the representatives of this law 
wouUl only bring it into contempt, ^'et there are some uleebalangs 
who summon their kali on such occasions for form's sake, and after 
enquiring of him with much apparent solicitude, what would be the 
fiat of the hukom in the case under consideration, beg of him to allow 
the decision in this one instance to be given in accordance with the 
adat; whereto the kali assents with a respectful sciiiiibali. 

.Some few pious uleebalangs, who of their own accord allowed their 
The kali ^^^^ ^ larger share in the administration of justice, or conformed to 
rabon jali their advice, are cited as rare exceptions. 

and the kali 

malikonade. The panglinia sagi was the chief uleebalang of his confederation, and 


his kali was in like manner the chief kali of the sagi. We may perhaps 
ascribe to the centralizing efforts of certain of the port-kings an attempt 
which was made to reduce all the other kalis to the position of mere 
deputies of the chief kali, nominated by him or at least with his con- 
currence, whilst the chief kali of each sagi received his appointment 
direct from the hands of the sultan. The bombastic title of these kalis 
of the sagis, Kali Rabon Jale (from the Arab. Qadhi Rabbul Jalil) ^ 
"Judge of the Almighty Lord" '), undoubtedly dates from the times of 
active organization in the capital. 

Writers on Acheh have accustomed us to the idea that above the 
kalis of the uleebalangs and of the panglima sagi there was enthroned 
in the capital a supreme hereditary judge who bore the title of Kali 
Malikon Ade [Qddlu Malikul Add) i. e. "Judge of the righteous King". 
For this notion it appears that we have again to thank Mr. Der Kin- 
deren, whose chief guide in forming this conclusion was the bearer of 
the title himself. The latter appears (for reasons not difficult to surmise) 
to have told Mr. Der Kinderen talcs regarding his exalted position in 
flagrant conflict with the truth. He painted an idealized picture of the 
importance of that position as it was at the time of its first establish- 
ment, some two and a half centuries ago, and furbished this up as 
representing the actual state of things at the present day ^). 

The original intention of the powerful port-king (whether Meukuta 
Alam or an earlier sovereign) who instituted the title of Kali Malikon 
Ade, was undoubtedly to have a president of the royal court of justice 
possessed of an adequate knowledge of the religious law. In making 
this appointment it was of course never intended to apply this law in 
its full extent. Such a scheme could have been realized in no Moham- 
medan country in the world within the last twelve centuries. The whole 
political system of the port-town even at the zenith of its prosperity 
was in conflict with the law of Islam. 

Perhaps those Achehnese chiefs are not entirely wrong who assert 
that the wish of the prince who created the office was that his kali 

1) This expression is also to be found in Malay works iu tlie sense of "The Judge, the 
Almighty Lord" = God, e.g. in Ganjamaia, Singapore Edition p. 159 cX.s .J ^?jL.«~,j liV^ 

2) Ordonnanlie van 1^ Maart iSSi hctrckkilijk dc rcchtsplcging oiuier dc inluciiische hc- 
volking van Groot-Atjeh^ met ccn mcmoric van toclichling van Mr. T. H. Der Kinderen^ 
Hatavia 1881, pp. 18, 22 seqij. 



should apply the adat as well as the hukom, and on this account gave 
him, in contradistinction to the "judges of the Almighty Lord" in the 
three sagis, the title of "judge of the righteous king". In fact it is in 
this way that tlie difference in nomenclature can be best explained '). 
Degenera- Whether the sultan who established the office in question wished at 
office of Kali *'^*-" same time to endow his own judge with a measure of supremacy 
MalikonAd(5. ^yg^ the Other three chief kalis, remains uncertain. We only know 
that if such a scheme existed, nothing came of it. In the first place 
the great independence of the three sagis would have resisted any such 
attempt, and in practice a liigher appeal from the sentences of the 
"judges of the Almighty Lord," to the royal court of justice would 
have miscarried owing to sundry insurmountable difficulties. But besides 
this the office of "judges of the righteous King" very quickly deterio- 
rated, until in the end it retained nothing more than the title indicative 
of its origin. 

Various causes combined to bring about this deterioration. First the 
hereditary nature of the office which did not of course endure that 
the heir should be as learned as his predecessor; then the residence 
of the holder of the title in the immediate neighbourhood of the court, 
by which he gained a favourable opportunity of having his office con- 
verted into a sort of uleebalangship, the end and aim of all Achehnese 
office-bearers; and lastly the rapid decay of the central power, by 
which various offices created during the brief period of prosperity lost 
the reason for their further existence. 

Even in the later edicts, which always more or less idealize facts, 
we find the Kali Malikon Ade represented as a distinguished courtier, 
a sort of master of court ceremonies, to whom a fixed portion of the 
harbour dues was assigned. He became what was called iiU'rlxilaiig 
pbteti, "uleebalang of our lord" (the sultan), equal in rank to the almost 
independent provincial chiefs, with all th.e worldly pretension apper- 
taining to their rank, but without territory. The official title of Tcuku 
which he bore and still bears, points unequivocalh' to the complete 
secularization of his office. 

F'inally one of the holders of this title, making use of the special 
favour of the prince towards him and of the weakness of the then 

l) Pi'of. Niemann in his Bloemlezing nil Maleische geschriften^ Part 2, p. 25 notices 
that Malikul Adil is a common title for qadhis in Malay countries. 


Panglima Meuseugit Raya (the head of the 24 or more gampongs on 
either side of the Acheh river, in the neighbourliood of the court and 
principal mosque) succeeded in gaining control over half the latter's 
jurisdiction. Since then we find the Teuku Kali at the acme of the 
wishes of an Achehnese official, chief of a small but important territory, 
and at the same time, in his capacity as a court dignitary, not without 
influence in the choice of a successor to the throne. We thus see that 
Mr. Der Kinderen quite missed the mark in finding anything extra- 
ordinary in the fact that the "hereditary supreme judge" of the king- 
dom could neither read nor write. Teuku Kali was uleebalang of 12 
gampongs, and shared this ignorance with many of his equals in rank, 
while those who are charged with administering justice according to 
religious law can all read and write and have most of them carried 
their learning much further than these rudiments. 

The rule that the chief kalis of the three sagis should be appointed 

by the sultan speedily became a dead letter, and the practical results 

of the aims at centralization founded on this rule proved very trifling. 

The kali The office of kali rabon jale also, in complete opposition to its 

rabon jale. , i i ■ i • , i i ,• t • 

character and object, became in the end hereditary; nay more, durmg 
the latter part of the century, the son, brother or nephew of a deceased 
title-bearer has succeeded the latter without even having to demand a 
sealed deed of appointment from the sultan. Such being the case, we 
may be surprised to find that this kali-ship did not deteriorate so much 
as that of Mr. Der Kinderen's "supreme judge". 

The kali rabon jale of the XXII Mukims, though according to custom 
he acquires his office by inheritance, is as a matter of fact a man of 
learning. According to Achehnese custom the late kali, like his fore- 
fathers before him, was called after the gampong he lived in, Teungku 
Tanoh Abee '). By reason of his learning this chief esteemed himself 
too highly to act as a sort of acolyte of the Panglima of his sagi, and 
refused to appear at the call of the Panglima Polem. This powerful 
uleebalang was thus constrained when need arose to seek the help of 
teungkus of inferior qualifications '), while his hereditary kali devoted 
his time to study and the instruction of his disciples. 

1) He died in 1893. 

2) The chief of those who lendeied service in this way was Teungku di Lheue, an 
tilania of inferior repute. 


In the XXV Mukims in like manner there flourished for a short time 
a tolerably learned head kali, Teungku Lam Paya '), who died some 
years since. He enjoyed, at least in the later years of the sultanate, 
a certain precedence on official occasions, and was sometimes bidden 
to the Dalam, probably because he lived nearest at hand. His son, 
who succeeded him under the same title, is said not to be particularly 
learned in the law, but very ready of speech. 

When the Dutch first came to Acheh, the chief kali of the XXVI 
Mukims was a man named Teungku Lam Gut, the grandfather on the 
mother's side of the present hatib (preacher) of the principal mosque 
at Kuta Raja. Born in Lam Gut and appointed as the successor of his 
father, who had some reputation for learning, he subsequently changed 
his abode, in consequence of his marriage, to Lam Bhu' close to the 
Dalam. Here he married his daughter to a scholar of Pidie named 
Cheh Marahaban, long a resident in Mecca, who was ulama and kali 
to the sovereign of the port ^) during the last years of the Sultanate. 
Teungku Lam Gut was thus able to rely in his official work on the 
superior knowledge of his son-in-law, for he himself though a man of 
sound intelligence was devoid of learning. 

The principle of inheritance could not of course be applied to the 
kali-ship in the same degree as in the case of offices controlled by 
adat; still it was sometimes pushed to a great extremity. Thus it by 
no means rarely occurred that in the very smallest duties of his office 
the kali, like many a teungku meunasah, ^) had to invoke the assistance 
of some learned man of only second or third rank. 

This is equally true of the ordinary kalis of the uleebalangship, who 
according to the intention of the centralizing ruler were supposed to 
be appointed by the chief kali, but as a matter of fact inherited theii 
office as a family chattel, and were only hampered in their right of 
succession by the occasional interference of their uleebalangs. Accor- 
dingly we find side by side in all these offices functionaries without 
title and title-bearers without function. 

1) Not to be confused with his contemporary, the still greater pandit Teungku Lam P-iya, 
who was distinguished from the l<ali of that name by the addition of the word ulama 
or alem. 

2) Thus even in the rare cases where the Sultan of Acheh had need of the advice of 
those learned in the law, his real adviser was Cheh Marahaban and not Teuku Kali. 

3) See above p. 75. 


We might to some extent apply to the relation of the uleebalang 
to his kali the expression which the Achehnese use to denote the 
mutual positions of the chief of the gampong [keiiclii') and the teungku 
meunasah, and represent the uleebalang as the father and the kali as 
the mother of the uleebalangship; but with this distinction, that the 
position of this "mother" of a province is relatively very much lower 
than that of the "mother" of a village. 
Administra- Thus the administration of justice remains mainly in the hands of 
by'the^uiy" ^^^e uleebalangs. It is only however in the direst necessity that their 
balangs. mediation is sought, for these chiefs hold it before them as their prin- 
cipal aim to get as much hard cash as possible for themselves, and 
take but little pains with cases, however weighty, from which there is 
not much profit to be won. We shall now enumerate the principal 
matters which give rise to blood-vengeance or to sentences of the 
Vengeance Bodily injuries, hurt or manslaughter originating in ordinary quarrels, 
blood-money.^''^ ^^ ^ '"'j'^' avenged without recourse to any authority by the 
injured party with the help of his kawom or kindred. If however at 
the end of the mutual reprisals a considerable debit balance remains 
over on one side, the matter is submitted to the uleebalang, who in 
this case simply directs the payment in accordance with religious law 
of the dic't or price of blood by the offender to the injured party. For 
this diet a tariff is to be found in the Moslim law-books. Where the 
uleebalang is himself unlearned, he applies for enlightenment to a kali 
or ulama. 

Long continued petty wars only arise out of blood feuds in such 
cases as when a simple hurt is avenged by manslaughter, or the 
recognized limits overstepped in some other such way. 

We have already ') alkuled to the peculiar gampong-adat of wtvi' A? ;/^'"^''rt 
which is employed to wash away the insult inseparable from the injury 
done, and which does not interfere with the debt in blood or money 
which accrues therefrom. 

We may add that an insult offered by a person of high rank to an 
ordinary citizen is obliterated without recourse being had to nienlangga, 
simplj- through the so-called cooling [peusijue] -) or another form of 

i) See p. 77 above. 
2) See p. 78 above. 


compensation in which all ceremonies are dispensed with. Indeed it 
sometimes happens that an injured villager on receiving compensation 
at the hands say of an ulccbalang's son who has done him an injury, 
actually begs the latter for forgiveness. 

Injuries done to persons of position by those of inferior are never injuries to 
atoned for without a formal request for pardon. ^.^"^^ ° '^ 

One of the lower orders who has committed some offence against a 
chief below the rank of uleebalang, seeks the presence of the chief 
with gifts, accompanied by relatives and friends who plead in his 
behalf. To an uleebalang the offender is brought wrapped up in a cloth 
as though he were dead or seriously ill. 

Keuchi's or persons of higher rank who go into the presence of their 
uleebalang as penitent sinners are generally accompanied by a number 
of their fellows of like rank. Either the offender himself or one of his 
colleagues who out of friendship for him assumes the part of substitute 
or scapegoat, covers his head with a white cloth, and thus habited as 
a corpse takes his stand before the uleebalang's door, while his com- 
panions reiterate the cry: ampon! ainponl 

For a long time the uleebalang feigns to take no notice, so that 
nothing may be wanting to the publicity of the affair, which he deems 
indispensable for the satisfaction of his honour. Finally he comes for- 
ward and says: "It is well", whereupon the suppliants enter the house 
and sit down for a short time, without however being made partakers 
of any hospitality. 

Uleebalangs who desired to atone by an appeal for pardon for a sin 
of commission or omission against the Sultan, were generally summoned 
to the Dalam for this purpose. Here they received from their royal 
master a costly platter (dalong) on which lay an iron chain under the 
usual covering (a conical plaited cover = sange and a cloth "= seuliab). 
This served as a gentle reminder that they must consider themselves 
as prisoners and not return home until they had received forgiveness. 
Thereupon followed a discussion as to the terms of the pardon. 

Towards the uleebalangs of Acheh proper, however, the sultans never 
indulged in such highhanded methods; it was only the less important 
chiefs of the dependencies that would submit to such ignominy. 

Where the ceremony of "cooling" takes place between two persons of 
equal rank, the offender asks forgiveness of the injured party who is 
seated opposite, and to this end rises first from his place; but if the 


injured one is somewhat younger or inferior in rank, he must spring 
quickly forward to meet the penitent so as to appear to take the 

In cases of manslaughter the diet is seldom accepted, more substantial 
vengeance being sought for. The guilty party in such cases usually 
flies from the highlands to the lowlands or vice versa, and enjoys the 
protection of the gampong whose hospitality he invokes '). The ulee- 
balang whose subject the deceased was, after having ascertained the 
facts, proclaims that the offender may be slain by anyone into whose 
hands he falls. 

Where the bloodguilty party dies either a violent or a natural death, 
the affair is regarded as settled. 

It was understood that persons guilty of manslaughter could save 
themselves by flying to the Dalam, but they were then regarded as 
chattels of the raja. 
Theft. A thief is according to Achehnese law punishable with death, even 
if not caught red-handed -). In addition to the great divergence from 
the law of Islam in regard to the severity of the penalty, we find a 
further conflict with that law in the estimation of the punishment as 
an act of private vengeance, which only the victim of the theft or his 
representative has the right to exact. 

If he whose goods are stolen has caught the thief red-handed and 
slain him, he must in accordance with the rules of evidence required 
by the adat, prove that the deceased has actually committed theft, as 
otherwise he would become involved in a blood-feud. Where the thief 
is not at once captured, the fact must in like manner be "proved", so 
as to give the aggrieved party the right to slay him without being 
exposed to the vengeance of his kindred. 

i) Even Teungku Tanoh Abee, the learned kali of the XXII Mukims, alluded to above 
has for years past harboured a bila gob (a man guilty of homicide, literally "blood-sacrifice 
of others"), who has meantime become under his guidance a diligent student of the kitabs. 

2) According to Mohammedan law, as we know, the thief should be deprived of his right 
hand, for a second offence of his left foot, for a third of the left hand and finally of the 
right foot. But theft as defined by that law is exceedingly difficult to prove according to 
Mohammedan rules of evidence. As we shall see presently, the infliction of these punish- 
ments was among the prerogatives of the Sultan. Nevertheless even in recent years this 
right was usurped by the chief of the sagi of the XXII Mukims, who most probably paid 
no heed in dealing with such cases to the strict requirements of the Mohammedan law of 
evidence in the matter of theft. No other chiefs of sagis or uleebalangs have ever assumed 
this privilege. 


According to the adat the only proper method of proving the crime 
is for the uleebalang to estabHsh the fact by personal investigation at 
the scene of the theft, and to identify the thief, a process known to 
the Achehnese as peusah ') panchiiri. 

In the XXVI Mukims this peusah should according to the adat be 
carried out only by the panglima sagi '■), and in the XXV by any 
uleebalang; in some parts of the XXII Mukims the uleebalang if he reside 
at too great a distance may be replaced by a conclave of three imeums ^). 

The elders and those learned in adat are wont to enumerate four 
sorts of testimony, which whether taken alone or in conjunction give 
the right to regard the accused as a thief The Achehnese have a great 
preference for the number four. They are also fond of employing in the 
discussion of adat-subjects terms which no one fully understands, and in 
regard to which every successive speaker can thus exhibit greater wisdom 
than his predecessor. These four traditional forms of proof are as follows: 

i". yad (Arab, properly = "hand") i.e. that the suspected party has 
been seen lurking in the neighbourhood of the house of him whose 
goods have been stolen; 2^ kinayat (Arab. = 'covered or metaphorical 
proof) i. e. that he has been seen to enter the house ; 3". penny abet 
(from Arab. ///^iJ// = established, "that which estabUshes a fact") i. e. 
that he has been seen holding or touching the stolen object; and 
4". haleiie meiie (properly halal=i "permitted" and mat = "goods, object 
of possession") i. e. that he has been discovered with the stolen object 
in his possession. 

Other kinds of evidence are mentioned, but these are all equally 
remote from the original as well as the technical sense of the Arabic 
words; and these words themselves do not appear in any such con- 
nection in the Mohammedan law, with the exception of yad, which 
means actual possession. 

In practice however they do not confine themselves to these rather 
more than vague rules. The peusah generally rests on the ground that 
the body of the slain thief has been found lying close to or in the 
neighbourhood of the stolen object, which token {ianda) is still further 

1) The causative of sah (.Vrab. qal.ih) = true, certain; the word thus means: to declare 
as certain, ascertain. 

2) I have grave doubts of this as I received the information from the present panglima 
of this sagi himself, a young man who has little reliable knowledge of the ancient adats. 

3) Cf. p. 87 above. 


strengthened by traces of housebreaking. It may also be supported by 
the fact that the thing stolen is found in the possession of another (the 
receiver) to whom compensation is paid on the condition that he points 
out the thief; or again, the fact that it is found in the gampong and 
that various circumstances point to a particular person as the thief who 
has escaped pursuit. 

In order to give some idea of the peculiar adats among the Achehnese 
in criminal cases, which are characterized no less than their family life 
by set speeches and dramatic display, we append an exam])lc of the 
peusah panchuri in a case in which the thief has been killed on the 
spot. The attendant circumstances are imaginary, but most of the 
formulae are invariable. 

The body of the thief, with the objects which serve as testimony, 
are left undisturbed till the uleebalang 'j, who is notified as soon as 
possible, appears in the gampong attended by some imeums and keuchi's. 

These authorities seat themselves over against the slayer of the thief, 
and the people of the gampong crowd around on all sides. The slayer 
is usually represented by a speechmaker of the gampong, but he may 
of course speak for himself if he wish. Standing up in his place he 
delivers himself on this wise : 

"I beg forgiveness of you all, oh Teimgkics ''■), ye that are my kings, 
for the reason for which I stand here, oh Teuku ampon, is threefold. 

"The first reason is, that I desire to pay homage to you, oh Teukus, 
who are my kings. The second reason is, oh Teuku ampon, that I wish 
to relate to you that which has befallen me. The third reason is, oh 
Teuku ampon, that I have to inform you as follows. During the past 
night, Friday the 15111 of Mo'lot, I was sleeping in the meunasah. At 
about midnight, as well as I could guess, I was startled and awaked 
from sleep with a feeling of uneasiness. I took my weapons, a sikin, 
a reunchong and a spear, and went back into the gampong ''), for I 
keep a beast there. 

1) Or else, as we saw above, the panglima sagi, or a council of three imeums, as the 
local custom may dictate. 

2) Although almost all those present actually bear the title teukii^ it is the tiaditional 
custom for the speaker to use the word tciiiii^ku in the commencement of his address. 
Subsequently he directs his narrative more exclusively to the uleebalang, whom he addresses 
according to custom as teuku ampon. 

3) The houses of the gampong in contradistinction to the meunasah are here meant. 
Cf. p. 61 above. 


"So then, oh Teuku ampoii, having come into the gampong, I took 
some buffalo fodder and laid it in the manger. Then I saw that the 
beast did not approach. I felt for the rope ; there was no rope to be 
found. Then I approached the door of the stall and found it standing 
open. Then I wandered hither and thither till I came upon a man 
leading a buffalo in a place which is only separated from my house 
by a single garden. 

"Thereupon, oh Teuku ampon, I cried out, who is that leading a 
buffalo? but he answered not. Then I drew my sikin and called help! 
help ! He took his stand against me, I smote at him and there lay the 
leader of the buffalo dead! 

"As to the buffalo, oh Teuku ampon, it is my property. For the 
rest, as concerns the man, if the Supreme God so will, it shall be as 
ye, oh Teukus who are my kings, shall be pleased to decide. What 
name shall we call this dead man by ? ') 

"Thus much only have I to say." 

After the hearing of this or a similar story, the uleebalang says to 
those present : 

"What is your opinion, Teukus, in regard to what this man (or this 
master) has related ?" 

A chorus of the villagers here interrupts: 

"That is clear enough, it may at once be answered, oh Teuku!" 

The uleebalang however transfers this task to his proxy speaker, 
one of the elders, and says to the latter, "let answer be made." 

"How am I to answer?" he enquires. 

"What means this 'how,' is it not clear enough?" pursues the 

After this authorization the elder speaks thus: 

"Good then, as to what this man has related, how stands it? Know 
ye that are here (this to the next of kin, neighbours etc. of the slayer) 
aught of it? Tell us what ye know." 

The answer, given more or less in chorus, runs thus: "It is established, 
even as this man has related it, oh Teuku ampon, so is the knowledge 
of all of us." 

The uleebalang to the elder: "well, if that be so, then is this fellow 
(the deceased) buffalo-flesh, it is permitted us to eat it!" 

l) That is to say: I leave it to you to decide, whether he shall be esteemed //n'l/ or not. 


The elder: "This fellow is even as the flesh of buffaloes, it is per- 
mitted us to eat it! Let us cry aloud now all together, the name of 
this fellow is thief! Cry with one voice, let us kill the thief dead!" 

These last words are loudly repeated by all present, and thus the 
case is concluded. It might be almost expected that at this last cry a 
simultaneous attack would be made upon the body of the thief, but 
now-a-days at least this does not take place. 

Not till the conclusion of this ceremony can the thief be buried. 
Before the formal pcusali the body may be moved to the extent of 
dragging it a few paces along the ground, but to raise it entirely from 
the earth would according to the adat have the effect of making the 
sentence impossible. 

It is obvious that proofs such as those we have enumerated are not 
always forthcoming in all the numerous cases of theft in Acheh and 
especially in the highland districts, yet the adat with its peculiar rules 
of evidence demands "tanda" or tokens, and it is an established rule 
that where such tokens are wanting, no crime can be taken to be 
proved. On the other hand it often happens that all are morally con- 
vinced that a certain person is in the habit of stealing or has done so 
in a particular instance, without their being able with the best will in 
the world to adduce the requisite proofs. 

It may for example be safely asserted, in view of the habits of life of the 
Achehnese, that any one who after nine o'clock in the evening is found 
lurking in a strange gampong where no festival is being held, has come 
therewith criminal intent,and generally with the object of committing theft. 

In such cases there prevails a custom, not indeed theoretically recog- 
nized, but in fact commonly practised, of artificially supplying the 
necessary tandas or proofs after the evildoer has been put to death. 

The slayer for instance breaks a piece out of the wall of his house, 
and places a chest which he has himself taken out of his house near 
the body, or ties his buffalo to the leg of the slain man, so as to give 
the appearance of his having met him leading the animal away. 

Though all who attend at the verification (peusali) are well aware 
of the true origin of the evidence, they lend their support before 
the uleebalang (who is often as much in the secret as themselves) to 
a solemnly paraded fictitious story of the theft, and the declaration 
"This fellow is as the flesh of buffaloes, it is permitted us to eat it," 
sets the slayer free from all guilt. 


Nay more, this facile method of pcusah panchuri is frequently 
resorted to even when there is no question of theft. Suppose for in- 
stance that a man has detected his daughter, who is unmarried or 
whose husband is away, in the act of illicit intercourse, and has slain 
her lover. According to Achehnese adat he would now be exposed to 
blood-vengeance unless he had also killed his daughter, and if he ad- 
mitted the true nature of the case, he would subject her to the penalty 
of death by strangling and drowning combined (cheuki'e) by command 
of the uleebalang. For a moderate consideration, however, the latter 
may be induced to recognize as true the "tokens" of theft brought for- 
ward to suit the case of the homicide, accompanied by a story that 
harmonizes with the circumstances, and which is upheld by the un- 
animous voice of the fellow-villagers of the slayer, who are not likely 
to leave their comrade in the lurch. 

Even ordinary murders attributable to no such circumstances as the 
above, but merely to hatred and the desire for revenge, are sometimes 
settled by the peusali panchuri through the venal connivance of the 

For the tracing of the criminal in case of a theft established by 
proofs, various methods are furnished by the adat; and these, while 
especially applicable in case of theft, are also employed in detecting 
those guilty of other crimes. 

When strong suspicion rests on a particular individual, and it is 
desired to extort confession, recourse is had to the method called locng 
or sreng ba pha siblaili. This consists in fastening a strip of rottan 
round the thigh of the suspect, and tightening it by twisting the ends 
together while the interrogation proceeds. Various other similar tortures 
are also employed. 

When a thief chances to be captured instead of slain, his relatives 
are given opportunity of ransoming him. In theory the blood-price or 
diet has to be paid in such cases, but in practice a sum proportioned 
to the resources of the family is accepted. Such ransoms are especially 
customary in the highlands, where theft is very common. Elsewhere, 
for instance in the XXV Mukims, thieves are more usually put to 
death on the spot. 

The following methods serve to identify the thief from among a Ordeals, 
number of persons one of whom is believed to be the guilty party. 

Feutasa' or peiiklo minycn ("the boiling of oil"' or "the plunging 

I 10 

(the hands) into oil") is an ordeal requiring for its success that he 
who boils the oil should be able to do so in the proper manner and 
should know by heart the necessary incantations. Then the hand of 
the guilty person and none other will be scalded. 

In like manner piimitc hrcucli ("bolting of raw rice") has the desired 
result only when the requisite incantations are uttered over the rice. 
Then it is the guilty one alone that fails to swallow the rice. 

Another ordeal is teiDiianom ("burying something"). The uleebalang 
calls together all the suspected persons into the meunasah, and gives 
them three days time to restore the stolen object secretly to its 
owner. Should this not be done they must again assemble. Then some 
person skilled in magic art "enchants" a kundur-fruit [bbli ktindo), and 
this is buried where the main road enters the gampong. The result is 
that the stomach of the guilty party quickly swells up or bursts. 

Peulieh beuso'c ("licking the hot iron") is also in use. This kind of 
ordeal is even expressly recognized in the so-called edict of Sham- 
sul-alam '). 

A simpler plan, but one less effective than these ordeals, is the 
summoning of all the suspects into the meunasah, where the teungku 
causes them one by one to swear a solemn oath of exculpation ^). The 
usefulness of ordeals of course lies in the belief which the majority of 
the people have in them. Where they are made ready with the requisite 
circumstance and solemnity, the guilty party often confesses at once, 
before recourse is had to the actual trial, and even if this be not so, 
the demeanour of the criminal at the commencement of the ordeal 
generally proclaims his guilt. 

Knowing this, some uleebalangs have been wont to invite the atten- 
dance on such occasions of a teungku from some distant place, distin- 
guished by a great beard or some other such impressive characteristic; 
this startling apparition has often resulted in confe.ssion. 

In cases of petty theft it is not unusual for the thief to be kept 

imprisoned for some days in or near the residence of the uleebalang. 

Before being released he has to promise under oath never to steal again. 

Illicit inter- Next to theft illicit intercourse (Arab, zina, Ach. dina) claims our 

course, attention. 

1) See Van Langen, Atjehsch Staatsbestuur^ p. 469. 

2) Such administration of oaths is an affair of the gampong, whicli the keuchi' can 
undertake upon his own responsibility, but the ordeals can only be applied by the uleebalang. 

1 1 1 

The punishments imposed by Mohammedan law for this offence 
(sexual intercourse between two persons not in the mutual relation of 
man and wife or master and slave) differ in proportion as the guilty 
parties may or may not have at some time in their lives had sexual 
intercourse in a lawful marriage. If so the punishment is stoning to 
death, if not, lOO stripes with the lash, followed (according to the 
Shafiite school) by banishment for at least one year. 

The application of this law is extremely rare in Acheh, although its 
provisions are pretty generally known. This is undoubtedly due to 
some extent to the great difficulty of proving illicit intercourse according 
to the requirements of the Mohammedan law of evidence; it is not 
permissible to apply a punishment ordained of Allah to a crime which, 
clear though it be to human insight, is insufficiently proved in accord- 
ance with the rules of evidence prescribed by Allah's law. 

In has happened in some few cases that some influential supporter 
of religious law has endeavoured to make an example by applying it 
in all its rigour to this sin so universally prevalent in Acheh. This was 
done for instance by Habib Abdurrahman, and the news spread 
throughout the whole country that a couple had indeed been stoned 
for illicit intercourse. When however some uleebalang conceives the 
same idea, there is generally found something lacking both in the 
proofs which the law requires and in the complete execution of the 

As a matter of fact dina is the order of the day in Acheh, whilst 
its punishment is of exceptional occurrence unless where the injured 
husband takes active measures. Many chiefs carry on intrigues with 
the daughters of men of lower degree, and are generally able to 
nullify or prevent the visible consequences. The same is done by 
persons who hold forbidden intercourse with women of their own 
standing (generally balec i. e. widows or divorced women). Dina with 
married women is also far from uncommon. 

There are two different sorts of punishment for this offence, when- 
ever any cognisance is taken of it. 

1°. Wreaking of vengeance by the injured party (the husband, father, 
brother or other near relative of the party concerned), sometimes 
followed by a further punishment at the order of the uleebalang, if 
the injured party has only half finished his task according to the 
requirements of the adat. 

I 12 

The injured party may for instance slay the vioiater of the honour 
of his house on the spot, or elsewhere afterwards, if he can prove by 
a tanda (such as a garment of the offender who at first escaped him) 
tiiat the deed lias actually been perpetrated. If however he does not 
also slay the i^uilty woman (she being his wife or his blood-relation) 
he exposes himself to blood-vengeance, unless the other party chooses 
to refer the matter to the uleebalang and the latter lets the adat- 
penalty of clieukie be executed on the woman. This is done by taking 
the guilty woman to the bank of a river where she is laid on her 
back and held down under water; a bamboo is at the same time placed 
athwart across her throat, and on either end of this a rakan, or follower 
of the uleebalang, stands so as to throttle her. 

As a rule however her family forestalls this public scandal ; she is 
secretly put out of the way by one of her own relations, though not 
before her lover has preceded her to the next world. 

It is to be noted that it very rarely occurs, and then only by mis- 
take that the injured party slays the woman (his own wife or blood- 
relation) while letting the man escape and yet retaining some article 
belonging to the latter as evidence. To fulfil the demands of morality 
in such cases there was in ancient times a custom, described by Van 
Langen in his Achehnese Dictionary, p. 35, but known to the present 
generation by tradition only, so long has it been discontinued. This 
custom was as follows: the escaped offender was dressed in the peculiar 
garments assigned by tradition to those guilty of manslaughter, and 
placed in the midst of a square, one side of which was formed by his 
own blood-relations, and the other three by those of the slain woman 
and her husband. He had then to cleave a piece of wood, after which 
the injured side had the right to chase and kill him, unless he suc- 
ceeded in escaping to the line occupied by his kinsfolk. In that case 
he was exposed to no further persecution. Hut as we have said, such 
a state of things rarely occurs and this method of dealing with the 
offender has now fallen entirely into disuse. 

l) This dress consisted of the bainglcotig mentioned by Van Langen (a cloth wrapped 
round the body in a peculiar way), an iron />ajec or jacket, and a set of weapons {sikin 
and reuncUong) the handles of which were furnished with no horizontal hilts for the hand 
to grasp. These were called cilat sigcuphh = the weapons of one condemned to death. The 
general meaning of sigeupoh is one who is doomed either as bila gob^ or as an outlawed 
thief or by the sentence of a judge. For a considerable time weapons of this pattern became 
fashionable and were those most commonly used in Acheh. 


It may be seen from what has been just said, tliat illicit intercourse 
is usually treated in Acheh as a private rather than a public Jareach 
of law and order. 

2". The uleebalangs are quite ready to punish the offence of dina, 
even when no one has complained of it, provided no disagreeable 
consequences result to themselves or their friends. Here again their 
action is dictated not so much by a wish to maintain law, order and 
morality as to enlarge the profits of their privy purse. 

Occasion for such interference especially arises when the pregnancy 
of an unmarried woman (the most unequivocal tanda of all) becomes 
publicly known. The causer of the pregnancy is traced down and the 
guilty parties reminded by the uleebalang that they are really liable 
to the penalty of death (by suffocation and drowning), but at the same 
time given to understand that the affair can be settled by payment 
of a certain fine, provided that the tanda disappears. The fine is gene- 
rally paid and abortion procured at the command of the uleebalang, 
or else the latter (and this often happens) compels the guilty parties 
to wed one another. 

Artificial abortion is of the commonest occurrence in Acheh, both 
in and out of wedlock, and is especially resorted to in order to destroy 
that tanda of illicit intercourse which is the foremost means of proof 
prescribed by the adat. 

Even where the guilty parties are unable to pay the fine, the ulee- 
balang seldom exacts the extreme penalty of the law. He prefers to 
punish them by incorporating them among his followers as servants 
without pay [urcucng salah), a step which is often accompanied by a 
compulsory marriage between the parties. 

The rakans, or followers of the uleebalang, sometimes try to catch 
couples in forbidden amours, in order to hale them before the ulee- 
balang, who squeezes them to the limit of their paying capacity by 
threats of other punishments. Nay, reliable witnesses declare that in 
the highlands especially, the rakans of the chiefs, in order to 
these fines (a share of which they receive for their trouble) have women 
in their service who make it their business to entrap men into quite 
innocent conversations in lonesome places. The woman can easily get 
the man to sit down by her for a moment, a thing quite feasible owing 
to the comparative freedom of intercourse between the se.xes in Acheh. 
Then the rakans rush up to them, tear off a portion of the clothing 



of both man and woman and set this aside as "tanda." Where this is 

confirmed by the woman's "admission" that she has had prohibited 

intercourse with the accused, it becomes easy for the ulecbalang to 

extort a fine from the victim of the trick. 

Adat- In the case of those who are entirely without means, the adat is 

punishments. .. , ^ , . , i . , 

sometimes made to appear to have as its sole purpose the punishment 

of immorality. The following are among the punishments inflicted ; 
fifty or more strokes of the lash inflicted by the rakans of the ulec- 
balang, in the presence of a crowd of the fellow-villagers of the 
accused ; holding up to public gaze for a few moments by suspension 
from a tree by a rope passed under the arms ; exposure for a whole 
day to the sun ; being tied up for a whole night in a place swarming 
with mosquitos or close to a nest of red ants etc. 

There are no definite adat-rules in regard to all these punishments. 
They are applied at the whim of the uleebalang not only in the case 
of illicit intercourse but also of other favourite sins of the Achehnese, 
whether some sacred occasion or place has been thereby extraordinarily 
polluted, or where the offence has been perpetrated with outrageous 
shamelessness, or by persons who are specially obnoxious to the chiefs 
or whose misdeeds they do not feel bound to overlook. 

For ill-treatment of women an adat punishment now little in vogue 
was formerly resorted to. The offender was set on a cow-buft'alo and led 
round followed by a hooting and jeering crowd. The late chief of Lho'- 
Kruet on the West Coast used to apply this punishment to all sorts of 
other offences, not excluding dina '). 

Imprisonment, generally in chains, serves less as a punishment than 
to accelerate the payment of a heavy fine, or to detain the prisoner 
for further enquiry when it is feared that he might otherwise make 
good his escape. 

All acts are rigorously punished which in the opinion of uleebalangs 
or other chiefs amount to a slight upon the honour or dignity of them- 
selves, the members of their families or their friends. Those who are without 

l) In Acheh and its dependencies, just as in other Mohammedan countries, arbitrary 
punishments are often elaborated and inflicted by the chiefs. Thus the present chief of 
Teunom used often to cause adulterous lovers to be deprived of their virility by the objects 
of their passion. He also punished many transgressors of the law as to fasts by having 
them led about the country on all fours foi' some days with rings in their noses like 
buffaloes, and forcing them to eat grass. 


means are put to death for such offences, while others are heavily fined. 

To ensure the payment of the fines in such cases a peculiar method i-anggeh 


of compulsion is employed, called langgeh umbng or the "excommuni- 
cation of the rice-fields." The uleebalang causes a stake to be fixed in 
the rice-field of the guilty party, with the white spathe of a young 
cocoanut palm fixed to its upper end. From that time forth it is for- 
bidden the owner to till his rice-field until the uleebalang is pleased 
to remove this token. 

Such removal, however, does not take place until the case is settled, 
i. e. until the owner as it were redeems his right of possession by a 
money offering. Where he is unable or disinclined to do this, the 
excommunication lasts sometimes for years. The uleebalang proceeds 
gradually to have the field tilled by his servants or (as a sort of feudal 
service) by his subjects, or else by private contract in consideration 
of '/2 ^^ i^tt produce {inawaih). After some years it passes irretrie- 
vably into his possession. 

This langgi'h umbng takes place when the off'ender has been guilty 
of striking (be it even on strong provocation) a member of the ulee- 
balang's family, or lost a weapon entrusted by the chief to his charge 
or the like. Wilful provocation is often given in order to increase the 
cases of confiscation and more than one of the uleebalangs has the 
name of being "very clever in annexing rice-fields." 

With the daily life of the gampong in the narrower sense of the 
words the uleebalang has little to do. Even the meulangga described 
above (pp. "jj et seq.) is carried out without his intervention. He must 
however be consulted in certain cases of change of residence and of 
alienation of rice-fields. 

Changes of residence are opposed as much as possible by the heads change of 
of the gampong, and as good as forbidden in the case of females. 
For changes of abode on grounds recognized by the adat, e. g. in order 
to exercise personal supervision over a part of the paternal inheritance 
situated elsewhere, permission is required from the keuchi's both of the 
gampong vacated and of that where it is intended to reside. 

Where however the cause of the removal lies in the fact that the 
would-be emigrant has always lived on bad terms with his fellow- 
villagers, his rice-field in his former gampong remains his own property, 
but he is not permitted to take his house with him ; this is confiscated 
by the uleebalang. 



We should rather have said "her house," because in the ch vision of 
inheritances houses are as far as possible assigned to female heirs. The 
father of the family can hardly be said to 'change his residence," since 
he either lives in the house of his wife or occupies a temporary lodging. 
Sale of lands. Sale of rice-fields, sugarcane gardens or court yards ') cannot take 
place before the owners of the lands bounding those that are for sale 
have waived their privilege of buying in the immovable property in 
question for the price offered by the would-be purchaser. 

Both sale and mortgage of real property are executed with some 
ceremony in presence of the authorities of the gampong, and also, 
where possible, of a large number of witnesses. On such occasions certain 
formalities of the Mohammedan law are also observed -). i"/„ or over of 
the value of every rice-field sold must be paid to the uleebalang. 

Suits to re- Suits for the recovery of debts are submitted to the uleebalang when 
s. ^ji Q(-j^g|. means of settlement are found to be fruitless. The chief 
requires both parties to deposit a sum equal to that in dispute. This 
deposit is called ha ganchcng, lit. = means of including or binding. 
This the Achehnese regard as a tanda jih mate lam jarbe hakim = a 
token or pledge that the suitor hands himself over as a dead body 
into the hands of the judge to deal with as he will. After the decree 
of the uleebalang has been carried out, he restores the hd' ganchcng, 
but deducts from the debt settled by his intervention a portion (some- 
times amounting to from one-half to one-third of the whole), by way 
of recompense for his trouble. 

Sources of So far we have sketched the functions of the uleebalang as military 
reyenueofthe leader, administrator and judge; we shall now add, partly by way of 

uleebalangs. j o > > i j j j 

recapitulation, and partly to complete the picture, a resume of the 
principal revenues and profits arising from the office. 

a. The three chief uleebalangs or panglima sagi used to receive a 
present from the sultan on the latter's accession to the throne. This 
"wedding gift" [jinamcc) has in later times amounted to § 500, but 
against this it became later the established rule for a newly constituted 
panglima sagi to pay at least an equal sum to the sultan for the letters 
patent by which he confirms his appointment. These three chiefs also 

1) Houses are not included, as in Acheh these belong to the category of movable property. 

2) Further details as to these formalities, which are also required by the adat at the 
sale of ploughing cattle, will be found in our description of agriculture. 


received gifts in money from the sultan on the occasion of some of 
the important events of their family life. 

b. Fines imposed on his subjects for sundry offences or illegal 
omissions. Under this head we may especially mention the confiscations 
of rice-fields. 

c. Fees for the pcitsah pancltiiri (verification of thieves), sometimes 
paid even though there is no question of theft, and various other 
profits which are the fruit of venality. 

d. In some districts, one or more per cent of the value of rice-fields 
sold under supervision of the uleebalang. Where the sale takes place 
without his interference, these profits fall to the imeums or to the 
teungkus and keuchi's, while all witnesses of the sale are treated to a 
feast by the vendor. 

e. io^/q of all inheritances distributed by the intervention of the 
uleebalang [lia prae), a small share being reserved for the tcungku 
or kali who prepares the accounts and for the keuchi' of the gampong. 

f. A share of all fish caught by means of drag-nets (pukat) wherever 
such fisheries exist within the jurisdiction of the uleebalang. 

g. Where there are navigable rivers, wase kuala, a toll of i dollar 
(according to some originally sainath = '/i dollar, or a certain quantity 
of husked rice) on every vessel that sails up the river, s"/,, on all 
goods imported by foreigners, and 2 to 2'/2"/o o" those imported by 
natives of the country. 

Ii. A portion, often very considerable, of the debts recovered by 
the uleebalang's help. 

/. The adat peukan or market tax, levied by the rakans of the 
uleebalang (on the East Coast by separate officials known as Iiaria) on 
the frequenters of all markets. 

j. Houses declared forfeit by reason of change of residence on the part 
of the owners owing to continual quarrels with their fellow-villagers. 

k. Untenanted rice-fields or gardens whose owners have long since 
left the neighbourhood and have not since been heard of; also the 
heritages of strangers who have formed no household in Acheh and 
of natives of the country who have died without leaving any lawful heirs. 

/. Contributions (almost compulsory in character) of imeums, pang- 
limas, keuchi's etc. to defray the expenses of important family festivals 
of the uleebalangs and their relations. 

111. The services of those who are embodied in the following of the 


uleebalang either by way of punishment for offences committed, or on 
account of their inabihty to pay the fines imposed upon them. 

«. Unremunerated services required of their subjects by influential 
uleebalangs for the construction of their houses and strongholds or the 
tilling of their rice-fields. 

Besides the above, the uleebalangs lay claim to a number of other 
sources of profit which vary with the locality, such as imposts on the 
sale of firewood, bricks, cocoanuts, cocoanut oil etc., a share of all 
jungle-produce or plants sawn in the forests, gifts of the rice or fruits 
that first ripen, a portion of all cattle slaughtered, fees for the right 
to collect turtles' eggs, a share of the profits of gambling, a portion of 
the pitrah and jakeuet etc. The uleebalang is also paid for the certifi- 
cates required for the issue of ordinary passports and those for the 
haj. Where pepper is grown, the chief gets so much a pikul as tcasi'. 
As we have already seen, a portion of the administration of justice 
is taken out of the hands of the uleebalangs by the imeums and 
keuchi's by the way of amicable settlement. It is only however by like 
amicable means that the latter oflicials can obtain payment of their 
dues. They dare not for instance apply the punishment of cheukie or 
other adat-penalties or fines, or excommunicate rice-fields, or identify 
thieves, or exact a deposit of ha gancheng in dealing with suits to 
recover debts, or embody men among their followers etc. At any rate, 
imeums who venture on such measures have already reached the rank 
of independent uleebalangs. 
Attitude of The Achehnese has been accustomed for centuries to a considerable 
chief. degree of independence in the management of his own affairs. He pays 
but little heed to the uleebalang or other authorities in matters apper- 
taining to his family and gampong, and is wont to show a certain 
impatience of control more akin to license than to servility. Yet he 
approaches the representatives of territorial authority with deep sub- 
mission. The ordinary man of humble rank makes his seunibah (the 
habitual native greeting) at their feet or knees or, if at a distance, by 
placing his hands on his head with the words seumbah ulon tuan = 
"your servant's respectful greeting" '). If the uleebalang wishes to be 
very polite, he replies sciuiibah kcii poteu Alah = "respectful greetings 

l) This is the token of respect under the adat. In the case of teungkus, leubes etc., it 
is replaced by the arab salam (Ach. sa/euim). 


are for our Lord God"; or wlierc the reverence consists only in an 
obeisance made at his feet or knees, by receiving this as it were with 
his hands (sauibot). Many however take no notice at all of the seuvibah 
of their dependants. 

The Achehnese are, comparatively speaking, among the least well- 
mannered of the inhabitants of the Archipelago, yet in their behaviour 
towards their chiefs they pay regard to sundry formalities. If a man 
be sitting on the roadside as the uleebalang and his retinue pass by 
and omits to ask ineuali or forgiveness for his presence, he may feel 
sure at the least of a beating from the rakans by way of correction. 
Both the chiefs and all the members of their retinue are as a rule 
very free with such sharp admonitions towards persons of low degree. 
The ordinary Achehnese, who is prone at the smallest insult to draw 
his reunchdiig or sikin on his equals, shows no rancour against ill- 
treatment on the part of the uleebalang and his folk or even the 
imeum. He fears them, and it is his natural impulse to bow to superior 
power alone, but to this he submits unconditionally. 

Impossible as it is for the uleebalangs to exercise despotic power, 
they loom before the individual as irresistible forces, even though he 
has the support of his kawom to rely upon. The uleebalang has a 
powerful and numerous kawom united to him through interest and 
otherwise ; he has also his various rakans, who, though taken as a 
whole they would not be likely to make an imposing impression on 
a European, constitute a formidable force in the eyes of each kawom 
and gampong. 

Every real or supposed shortcoming on the part of their subjects 
is heavily punished by these chiefs; but who can help the former to 
obtain justice against an uleebalang? They have only to hope for his 
mercy, and as a rule he inspires mistrust rather than hope. It is only 
when he can shelter himself among the ranks of some rival leader that 
the Achehnese will put himself in opposition to a chief). 

l) During the last three years, that is to say since a serious attempt has been made 
towards the proper government of (5reat .\cheh, the uleebalangs and their subjects have 
learned to live in peace with each other. They have been taught to submit their disputes 
to the decision of the Dutch Government, to carry on the administration of justice and the 
control of their districts entirely subject to the guidance of Dutch officials, who are invested 
with civil authority. 


§ 8. The Rajas (Sultans) of Acheh. 

The rajas Our description of the political system of the Achehncsc has made 
Acheh. " ''^ apparent that the '^Sultan of Acheh" is far from being an indispen- 
sable clement therein. Yet so far back as the sources of history extend, 
Acheh has always had her kings. In the official (Malay) documents 
the king is called sultan. The Achehnese, however, term him raja 
Acheh and also call him pbteu (= 'our lord") in the third person, and 
in the second harab iiienlia, sometimes pronounced /;«;■«;////« (lit. "may 
splendour be thy portion"; but the expression has obtained the force 
of a title and is used to signify "Your Majesty"). The affirmative 
answer to a question, command or remark of the sultan is d'eclat ') 
(i. e. daulat, prosfjerity or happiness). 

In the introduction we have already learned in a general way the 
true significance of these port-kings in the history of the country of 
which they are the nominal rulers. There is nothing to justify us in 
regarding the condition of misrule in which we find the country as 
the ruins of a past well-ordered government. Even the demands made 
on the uleebalangs by the port-kings in the most flourishing period of 
their rule, the second half of the i6'h and first half of the 17A century 
were extremely moderate and bear witness partly to the want of 
power on the part of these princes to control the government of the 
interior and parti)' to the small interest they seem to have taken in 
any such interference. Even the edicts ascribed by general consensus 
to Meukuta Alam (1607 — 3^) confine themselves within very narrow 
limits, although that prince had at his command a considerable fleet 
and a small standing army. Besides, these documents are not evidence 
of a state of things that ever actually existed, but simply the expression 
of the wishes of the king and his councillors as to what they would 
see carried out. It was enough for the successive Sultans to have 
immunity from annoyance at the hands of the numerous potentates of 
the interior, and this object they easily gained by the means that lay 
beneath their hand. 
The actual The portion of the lowlands which they governed directly as their 
domain of the actual domain was not very extensive^), and even this small territory 

the Sultan. J n j 

1) This word, like the Javanese kangjeng is used simply for confirmation or acquiescence, 
but never replaces the pronoun in any other sense than this. 

2) As regards this question see Van Langen's Atjehsch Staatsbesluur pp. 405 et seq. 


was in a great measure withdrawn from their direct control in the 
period of their decline. Some few gampongs, peopled for the most part 
by strangers or servants or slaves of the sultan, remained subject to 
the private lordship of the rajas, but the major portion of the territory 
adjoining the Dalam, about 24 gampongs in all, was administered by 
a Panglima as an appurtenance of the principal mosque [Meuseugit 
Raya). The office of Panglima Meuseugit Raya was hereditary, and 
thus soon came to be distinguished from an ordinary uleebalangship 
only through the name and proximity of the Dalam. 

The ambitious efforts of Teuku Kali Malikon Ade towards the 
acquisition of a territory which would make him an uleebalang in the 
full sense of the word, were crowned with success at a favourable 
moment, and he wrested from the weak Panglima Meuseugit Raya the 
half of his territory, twelve gampongs on the right bank of the 
Acheh river. 

How little these two uleebalangs can be recognized as simply servants 
of the sultan, may be judged from the fact that they occasionally made 
war on one another. The sultan helped first one and then the other 
with money and munitions of war, and his followers were to be found 
in both the rival camps. When a dispute arose as to the succession to 
the throne the Panglima Meuseugit Raya and the Teuku Kali Malikon 
Ade usually espoused opposite sides. 

Besides this special territory of the sultans, which quickly dwindled 
to such slender proportions, Achehnese tradition notices an important 
means adopted by the earlier sultans for strengthening their internal 
authority, namely the institution of wakeueh lands '). 

Wakeiich [ivakap in Javanese, Malay and Sundanese) is the Arabic Wakeueh 
ivaqf. This last word signifies property withdrawn in perpetuity by 
its owner from all alienation, and devoted to some object permitted 
by the Moslim law. Wakeueh is known to the Achehnese also in this 
sense; they use it especially to denote things the use or proceeds of 
which are devoted by the original owners to the purposes of a mosque. 

i) It is impossible to fix the exact time when this institution was first established. Sundry 
kindred institutions are undoubtedly assigned to too late an epoch by Van Langen in his 
Atjchsch Staatsbestuur pp. 405 seqq. The great antiquity of wakeueh appears from the fact 
that the peculiar position of the people of the Mukim Lhee or the III Mukims Keureukon 
may be directly traced to it, though the oiiginal intention was never attained. Besides, it 
could only have originated at a time when the sultans still exercised considerable power. 


as for example gardens, the furniture of a chapel etc. Rice-fields which 
are made waqf for the benefit of a mosque are however usually des- 
cribed by another term, sara ') and are spoken of as umhng sara or 
umbng sara meuseugit or mcusara vieiiseugit. 

But ivakeuch is much better known in the sense of a territory or a 
piece of land which has been placed in a peculiar legal position by 
the sultans. What this position originally was cannot now be easily 
traced, as the institution has entirely degenerated. From the information 
given by the Achehnese we might conclude that wakeuch lands were 
those the usufruct of which the sultans had presented to some one or 
other of their favourites after duly compensating the owners. The 
epithet is also applied to the strip of ground seven great fathoms 
[deiipa meunara) on each side of the Acheh river, reserved from ancient 
times to the sultan. Subjects might build or plant within this reserve 
but the land never became their property, and the sultans could 
always withdraw the right of user. This royal privilege no doubt 
originated in the interest of an unimpeded exercise of their sovereignty 
by the kings of the port. The name tanoli raja is indeed more com- 
monly used than ivakeuch to describe this reservation. Then again we 
find this latter word applied to the inliahitants-) of a certain district 
who have been relieved from sundry burdens and duties exacted from 
the rest, and exempted from the authority of the local chiefs, a con- 
dition which we find elsewhere described by the term bibeitch ^). 

Another explanation given for this word assigns to it a purely 

i) This has nothing to do with skar^ = "sacred law", for this word would be pronounced 
in -Xchehnese as chara or sara'. It is sometimes explained by its meaning of "with," 
"along with," thus indicating the rice-fields that appertain to or are connected with the 
mosque. It is probably however derived from the Malay sara which means "provisions," 
"means of support." 

2) In the two ancient epic poems of Acheh, Malem Dagang and Pochut Muhamat (see 
p. 84 above) we find frequent mention of iireuing wakeueh «;i5a' (or «^a') rn/a = " wakeueh- 
nien on the side of (or with) the king." This appears to mean that a certain district was 
allotted them to live in, within which they enjoyed complete independence, while they 
remained responsible to the king alone for their actions. They were thus a sort of free- 

3) The term bibeu'eh is also applied to persons who enjoy a kind of independence owing 
to their descent or their personal importance. For example where a scion of a distinguished 
family or a pandit of widespread celebrity together with his next of kin resided in the 
territory of an uleebalang, it was regarded as a matter of course that the latter should 
exert but a very slender authority over them, and that he should abstain from pressing in 
their case the claims wliich he ordinarily made on his subjects. These persons were bibcKek 
(Mai. bibas). 


political meaning. According to this one of the early sultans succeeded 
in getting the ruling chiefs both in Acheh proper and the various 
dependencies to consent to a certain portion of their territories (usually 
3 mukims) being severed from their control. The chief or chiefs of 
these smaller districts were thus brought directly under the sultan's 
rule and withdrawn from that of the uleebalangs. 

It is said that the inhabitants of some of these wakeueh-districts 
were bound to render certain services to the sultan on particular 
occasions. At the same time there is clear evidence that the institution 
of wakeueh-districts was not due to the sultan's requiring labourers or 
servants. Their object was to possess within the sphere of each powerful 
uleebalang a territory of their own on which they could rely to give 
support to their efforts at centralization. 

The inhabitants of such a district were required to refrain from 
taking any part in the incessant quarrels between great and small 
uleebalangs, to stand without and above parties, and to maintain a 
neutral field of observation and operation for their superior lord, who 
could appoint as chiefs of these districts persons in whom he reposed 
the greatest confidence. The word ivakeiick in the Achehnese vernacular 
represents more than one of the ideas just alluded to. That some truth 
lurks in the last mentioned political explanation may be gathered from 
certain features of the condition of the country as the Dutch found it 
at the commencement of the Achehnese war. 

The district of the "III Wukims" par excellence^), generally called 
Mukim Lhee, and now officially known as the III Mukims Keureukon, 
belonged to none of the three sagi of Acheh. Both the sagi of the 
XXVI and that of the XXII Mukims claimed that this district ^r/V/wrt/// 
belonged to them, but both allowed that it had for a long time past 
been withdrawn from all connection with their Panglimas. The people 
of the 'Mukims Three" were also well aware of this, though they 
acknowledged that they were itreiieng Tuiibng, thus admitting the cor- 
rectness of the assertion of the sagi of the XXII Mukims. 

In the wars between the two above-named sagi, the Mukims III took 
part with neither side. The people of the latter thus removed the 

l) Even now this district is usually described as Afiiiim Lh'cc (the "Mukims Three"), 
whilst other uleebalangships of three mukims are called "the three mukims so and so" e. g. 
Lhee Mukim Lam Rabo, Lhee Mukim Kayee Adang etc. In like manner the IV mukims 
of the XXV are always known as J/;//t/V« /Vki?V and the VII Mukims of Pidic as ^V«^/ot Tiijoh. 


corpses of the slain for both parties, and pcrniittetl no figlitins:; to be 
carried on within their own territory. 

The only instance of the administration of these Mukims by a sinyle 
ruler within living memory is that of a certain ulama named Teungku 
Chot Putu, who succeeded in attaining to some degree of authority 
there in the middle of the present century. This expounder of the 
law derived from his piety, learning and severity such an overwhelming 
influence over the three imeums and their subjects, that although not 
invested with any political power, he acted in fact as ruler of the 
Mukim Lhce. Before his appearance and after his death these mukims 
were self-governing, yet held in due respect the tradition of their 
peculiar constitution. His son Cheh Chot Putu, though essentially a 
worldly man and no scholar, inherited some of the respect paid to 
his father, but his efforts at playing the rcMe of uleebalang of the III 
Mukims have not been crowned with success. 

The name of III Mukims Keureukon now usually given to that dis- 
trict, coupled with the fact that a family resided therein, one male 
member of which enjoyed the hereditary title of Teuku Keureukon, 
points to the efforts made by the holders of that dignity to gain the 
supremacy there. Here we have another example of that same degene- 
ration of ofiices in Acheh, which we have seen above ') in the case 
of the Teuku Kali Malikon Ade etc. 

Among the principal court officials in the period of prosperity of 
the sultanate there was a royal secretary with the title Keureukon 
Katibulmulhk ^) (vulg. "Katiboy nuilut"). This title could more easily 
pass from father to son than the art of composing and writing Malay 
letters; and besides, the importance and extent of such correspondence 
dwindled with the decay of the court. 

The work performed in earlier times by the Keureukon Katiboy 
Mulut, in so far as it did not altogether fall into abeyance, was carried 
on by common servitors of no rank, who were called Krani Pbteu or 
"writers to our supreme lord." As however all official documents have 
even down to the present day been modelled on the pattern of 
those of the prosperous period, there were and still are often to be 
found at the beginning of letters and edicts of the sultans of Acheh 

1) P. 98 above. 

2) More properly katib ul-mttlk^ "writer of the kingdom." 


the words: "His Majesty ordered this to be written by the Keureukon 
katibulmuluk ')." 

We have here thus another example of an hereditary title-bearer 
who became an ulecbalang p'otcii without work or fixed income and 
without territory. Since the estabhshment of one of their number in 
the Mukim Lhee, the Keurcukons have been among those whose in- 
fluence was a factor to be reckoned with in that wakeueh-district, 
although they have never come to be recognized as its chiefs. 

Three of the XXVI Mukims were in like manner free from the 
control of the Panglima Sagi '-) ; and though it cannot be said that the 
sultans held supreme control there in more recent times, it still seems 
probable that this district also was made wakeueh originally with the 
intention just indicated. 

The mukims Lueng Bata, Pagaraye ') and Lam Sayun are regarded 
as properly belonging to the XXV Mukims, yet this trio seems also 
to have been formerly wakeueh. Within the memory of man however, 
the only trace of such a status has been the independence of the 
chiefs of these mukims. The influential and powerful imeum of Lueng 
l^ata was indeed on many occasions the adviser and ally of the sultan, 
but this very relation made it necessary for the latter to hold this 
chief in great respect and treat him with marked distinction. 

We must thus regard these wakeueh-districts of 3 mukims as being 
merely the relics of earlier conditions ; the period during which they 
served to advance the political aims of the sultans was in any case 
of very short duration. 

Similar survivals of wakeueh districts of this description are to be 
found in Pidie and some other dependencies, but their chiefs have long 
been free from the control of the sultans. 

It is said that there were on some of the islands (Pulo We for 
example) wakeueh lands of a difterent class, reserved by the sultans 
with the view of appropriating their produce. 

Of the remaining methods resorted to by the sultans for the mainte- Maintenance 

• r , . of the court. 

nance of then- authority, we have already made mention 01 several in 

1) Some writers have made a false deduction from this circumstance, and would have us 
suppose that the office of confidential secretary here referred to was in active existence 
down to the most recent times. 

2) See Van Langen's Atjehsch Staatsbcstiitir^ p. 406, sub. 5. 

3) From the Malay pagar aycr^ the Achehnese for which is pagen'i ic. 


the course of our description of the system of government in Acheh. 
The edicts quoted above (see p. 5), deahng with the ceremonial ob- 
served at court on all solemn occasions, have given an exaggerated 
impression of the importance of the port-kings, which has been still 
further corroborated by the reports of European travellers who saw 
them at the zenith of their prosperity. In these edicts are set forth 
the names, relative rank and high-sounding titles of a considerable 
number of court dignitaries. In some cases they also mention the 
duties which these officials had to perform, though it is impossible in 
many instances even to guess at the true significance of the offices 
they held. There is no doubt that many of them served simply to 
enhance the glitter of the court. These gradually disappeared, leaving 
no trace behind, when the kingdom and the power of the sultans 
dwindled away, and the latter were forced to share with others even 
that little that was left them. Some again underwent the change we 
have so often referred to; their titles became hereditary, and they 
found means on the one hand to have allotted to themselves a portion 
of the revenues of the port-town, and on the other to seize some 
favourable opportunity of changing from tilecbalang pbteti into uleeba- 
langs with a territory of their own. 
Efforts of To the examples of Tcukii Kali Malikon Adc^) diWd Teukii KciirciikTm'^) 

the courtiers qyQ|.gj above in illustration of this rcvi\al of offices, we may now add 
to attain the ^ 
uleebalang- one or two Others. 

Teuku Nanta Seutia was originally an ''uleebalang of our supreme 
lord," with which hereditary rank he was invested for exceptional 
services to one of the princes. Such a rank carried with it no more 
than dignity and claim to respect, but it made its holders unwished- 
for guests in the uleebalangship where they established themselves. 
Here they were of course free from all control {bibcurh) and in a 
po.sition to make inroads on the rights of others. Nanta Seutia suc- 
ceeded in detaching the VI Mukims from the control of Teuku Ne', 
chief of the great mukim of Meura'sa, and the protests of the latter 
reiterated down to the present day have been of no avail against this 
secession. [In 1896 the Nanta family having taken a prominent part 
in the treachery of Teuku Uma the Dutch, the Ne' family was 

1) See p. 98 above. 

2) See p. 124 above. 


restored to power. When the Nantas were expelled, the Dutch Govern- 
ment appointed as Chief Teuku Raja Itam, a son of the Teuku Ne' 
who was uleebalang of Meura'sa at the beginning of the Dutch opera- 
tions in Acheh]. 

A teacher of celebrity, Teungku Hamba Alah whose tomb in the 
mukim of Silang is still revered as a holy place, exercised during his 
life a powerful influence on the people of the XXVI Mukims. The 
panglima of that sagi, whether from respect for his learning or in 
order to neutralize his influence, made over to him the government 
of thirteen of his mukims and let him enforce Allah's law there to 
his heart's content. Circumstances favoured the efforts of his descen- 
dants to retain this control, and thus the hereditary uleebalangship of 
the 'XIII Mukims Tungkob" became established without any distinc- 
tively religious character, so that the later bearers of the title have 
exchanged the religious dignity of Teungku for the worldly one of 
Teuku Imeum Tungkob. 

To take one or two further examples from the dependencies, the 
title Teuku Hakim borne by one of the three chiefs in the upper part 
of Daya points to the fact that its bearer was originally charged with 
the administration of justice; but within the memory of man he who 
holds this title has been nothing more than an ordinary dato', as the 
adat chiefs are generally called on the West Coast. The Pangulec Side 
of Meulaboh, who who was undoubtedly at one time an official under 
the chief of that place, charged with the task of making judicial en- 
quiries, is now in fact no more than headman of Pulo U (vulg. Simalur). 

So little control had the Sultans of Acheh over the course of events, 
that whatever may have been their purpose in establishing these 
various offices, the latter became in a short time part and parcel of 
the indigenous institutions of the country, or else disappeared altogether. 

The portion of the port-king's supremacy which survived longest was 
a kind of lordship exercised over the neighbouring seas and harbours, 
and this it is in which we must seek the true significance of the 
sultanate from the very commencement. With the shortlived period 
of prosperity ended all such glorious expeditions as those undertaken 
in the 17''' century against Malacca and Pahang, but the bold seafarers 
and pirates of Acheh continued to make themselves dreaded along the 
coasts of Sumatra and among the surrounding islands. The monopoly 
of trade claimed by the great sultans could in the end no longer be 


maintained. Yet it was only a few of the dependencies that dared to 
refuse payment of the tvase (the sultan's share of the harbour dues) 
though they managed to reduce the amounts demanded by bargaining. 
The sums collected by expeditions sent round for this purpose, together 
with the sadly dwindled harbour dues of Banda Achch, formed the 
principal sources of revenue of the later sultans. Much of this however 
stuck to the fingers of collectors and administrators. 

The Achehnese slave-traders were until quite recently the terror of 
Nias and the adjacent islands. 
The seven In Oral as well as written tradition we find occasional mention of 

pieroga iv .. ^j^^ sultan's seven prerogatives. They alone had the power to inflict 
certain punishments, five in number, which could never be imposed by 
uleebalangs, viz. the lopping oft' of hands, impaling, a sort of crucifixion 
which consisted in the exposure to view of the dead body of the 
offender nipped in a cleft tree-trunk, the slicing oft" of flesh from the 
body of the condemned (sayab), and the pounding of the head in a 
rice-mortar {sro/i). The privilege of firing a cannon at sunset, and the 
right of being accosted with the expression declat ') completes the tale 
of the seven privileges. It is to be observed that the two last-named 
are of little real importance, while the special powers of punishment 
reserved to the sultans were, it is true, seldom or never e.xercised by 
uleebalangs, but very rarely also by the sultans themselves, if we 
e.xcept the occasional lopping off of the hands of thieves. 

To these seven privileges may be added the right of of coining 
money, which was also reserved to the sultans *). 
Other func- The obligation laid on the uleebalangs by some of the edicts, of 

rajas^ reporting to the sultan the sentences imposed by them, and bringing 

before him all suits in which strangers (including Achehnese from other 
uleebalangships) were concerned, always remained a dead letter. Such 
reports were never made, the sentences of uleebalangs were on the 
same footing as those of independent chiefs, and cases affecting Acheh- 
nese not subject to their jurisdiction were either decided by them in 
consultation with their fellows, or remained unsettled and gave rise to 
quarrelling and strife. How the law stood in the case of real foreigners 
may best be learnt from the common saying of the Achehnese to 

1) See p. 1 20 above. 

2) As to coin in Acheh we need liere only refer to Van Langen's Aljehsch Stmilshcslnur 
pp. 427—435. 


those who would injure them: "Do you take me for a foreigner (or a 
KHng) to whom anything may be done with impunity?" 

Even property left by strangers who die in Acheh without having 
formed a household there, falls into the hands of the uleebalangsl 

We have already clearly seen ') how little the appointment of imeums 
and the subdivision of the country into mukims contributed to central- 
ization of authority and conformity to religion. 

Some show of supremacy was maintained by the sarakatas already Deeds of 

referred to -J, letters patent of appointment or rather recognition of the ^PP'"''""'^"' 

' ' o or recog- 



principal hereditary holders of offices or titles. At the end of this 
chapter will be found a translation of one of these latest products of 
the royal chancery, the deed of recognition of the present Panglima 
Meuseugit Raya by the pretender to the sultanate at Keumala. This 
document like all the sultans' edicts of appointment I have met with 
(even including those of very early date), is composed according to 
established models with slight occasional modifications. It difiters only 

1) Pp. 83 — 84 above. 

2) Pp. 7 — 8 above. 


in some trifling details from the other deeds which the chiefs on this 
side of the "linie" or Dutch pale ') have succeeded in obtaining by 
pilgrimages to Keumala. 

At the top of such sarakatas in the middle of the sheet, we find 
the cluil! siki/rciirng or "ninefold seal"'-) whence the documents derive 
their common name. This contains the name of the reigning sultan in 
the central space, and in eight circular spaces surrounding it the names 
of eight celebrated sultans who preceded him, and whose blessing is 
thus invoked on the deed. The choice of these eight names rests 
with tlie reigning sultan; those of Eseukanda Muda (Meukuta Alam), 
par excellence the prince of old Acheh, and of the immediate prede- 
cessors of the reigning king are never omitted, but great freedom of 
choice is shown as regards the rest. 

On some of these documents there stands at the side of this seal 
the small rectangular private seal of the reigning prince. 

In the preamble, which is 
somewhat magniloquent and 
besprinkled with Arabic words 
and phrases, the blessing of 
Allah, of the Prophet, the 
saints (of whom Abdul-Qadir 
Jilanl is specially named as 
the prince of mystics) and the 
deceased kings of blessed 
memory is invoked upon the 


cessors, sometimes the whole eight who appear in the seal, sometimes 
only two or three are invoked by name. The sultan then reminds the 
uleebalang, whom he recognizes as the successor in office of his fore- 
fathers, of the obligations which he lays upon him. The enumeration 
of the duties, however, teaches us nothing in regard to the nature of 

i) The "linie" was a lino of fortresses thrown up by the Dutch in .^cheh during the 
period of their policy of "concentration" (1884 — 96). This policy, which has now been 
abandoned, is in itself enough to account for the slow advance of the Dutch in their 
conquest of -Acheh. Within the "linie" was the seat of government and so much of the 
country as had been absolutely reduced to submission. Outside were those openly hostile 
or of doubtful fidelity, interspersed here and there with a few who were loyal to the 
Government. We are reminded of the "pale" in Ireland in the 16th century (Translator). 

2) See the plate on p. 129. 


the offices, since it is purely religious in character am! almost uniform 
in all such sealed documents. 

To restore mosques which have fallen into disrepair, to build new 
ones, to compel his subjects to perform tlie public prayers and espe- 
cially the Friday service, and observe the fasts in the month appointed, 
such are the chief duties of an ul^ebalang according to the sarakatas 
with the chab siknreu'cng. 

From this it is abundantly clear that the sultans under wiiom the 
original models were composed had them drafted by ulamas who 
stood high in their favour, and whose influence in the country was not 
a negligeable factor. Their employment for this purpose gratified the 
religious zeal of the ulamas and flattered their vanity, making them 
believe that they were carrying out a work of great importance ; but 
for practical politics their labour was entirely thrown away. 

The uleebalangs, then, regarded these documents as nothing more 
than embellishments which they were glad to possess, but could do 
without if occasion required. The one object which the Sultans imag- 
ined they would attain by means of these deeds of recognition, viz. 
some influence in the choice of the successor, was never actually 
reached. A new title-bearer did not report himself to the capital until 
the most influential men in his district had agreed on his appointment, 
or in other words satisfied themselves that he was according to the 
adat the lawful next of kin to the deceased uleebalang, and suf- 
fered from no moral or physical defect which rendered him unfit to 
hold office. 

In the decadent period many uleebalangs and other chiefs found the 
lustre to be derived from the possession of the nine-fold seal not worth 
the trouble and the inevitable expense connected with it, such as 
doing homage to the sultan, gifts to officials and writers etc. They 
thus entered on office without any cliab sikiireiicng, or were content 
with keeping in evidence the deeds of appointment executed by former 
sultans in favour of one or more of their forefathers. 

The position was the same, though on a very much smaller scale, 
as that of the Mohammedan kingdoms during the decay of the khali- 
fate of the Abbasides. While the latter were hardly masters in their 
own palace, we find in Egypt, Syria etc. one prince thrusting another 
from his throne and robbing him of his provinces, and finally in his own 
good time going and demanding at Bagdad a solemn confirmation of 


the fait accompli, making it appear tliat the new state of things had 
been brought about at the will of the Khahf himself, 
The nine-fold There are sayings and stories current among the Achehnese which 

and the five- 
fold seal, show that they believed that the like had happened in their case; of 

these the most graphic is the following: a sultan once confirmed in 
his authority a chief who had risen to power through acts of injustice 
and deeds of violence, usurping the place of the rightful rulers. On 
his attention being drawn to the contempt which such an appointment 
would bring upon hereditary rights recognized by his predecessors in 
many documents, the sultan replied: "What avails the chab sikurciicng 
(the nine-fold seal) to him who cannot show himself possessed of the 
chab limbng" (the five-fold seal, i.e. the hand as the symbol of power). 
Again when we speak of the sultanate of Acheh as it appeared in 
our own time, as being the ruined relic of what it once was, we must 
remember that this only applies to the importance of Banda Acheh as 
a commercial town and the external influence of the rajas, for even in 
past centuries the influence they exercised on the aftairs of the interior 
was limited to certain short periods, and left no enduring results behind. 
The sultanate retrograded in its relations with the interior also; but 
in this sense, that whereas in former times the sultan was primus 
inter pares as regards the uleebalangs, he was reduced to be a mere 
ward under the three great panglimas even before the end of that 
I7'li century which began so magnificently '). 
Acheh as the These three chiefs were the guardians of Acheh, which was rcpres- 
''in'ide^ *" cnted as a bride that continually renewed her youth; they gave her 
in marriage to whom they would after mutual consultation. They 
usually selected the bridegroom from the family of his predecessors, 
yet did not shrink upon occasion from the introduction of a new- 
dynasty or even the choice of a foreigner, as we see in the case of 
the Sultans of Arab descent. The bridegroom had to pay to each of 
the chiefs a sum of 500 dollars as a wedding gift {jinamec qx jcunamee). 
The power The three guardians, the panglima sagi, did not however succeed in 
limasofthc ^'^"^ '""a '""" '" retaining the supremacy over the federate dominions 
sagi. which they had possessed when this metaphorical marriage-contract 
was concluded. 

Panglima Polem (Lord Elder Hrother) is the title which the chief of 

l) See pp. 89 — 91 above. 


the XXII Mukims has borne for many generations past. He is regarded 
as the doyen of the chiefs of the sagis on account both of the antiquity 
of his lineage, the bravery of the men of his sagi and its wealth. His 
sagi really numbers many more mukims than the name implies. In- 
crease of population has given rise to the formation of new districts, 
yet the traditional name of the sagi has survived. The same is true, 
though in a less degree, of the XXV Mukims, while the XXVI continue 
to correspond with their ancient name. 

A tradition which represents the Polems as sprung from the sultans 
is contradicted by them, and is without doubt partly legendary and 
partly concocted by their enemies to bring a stain upon their family. 
The legend is as follows : the great Meukuta Alam once suffered from 
a venereal disease and in order to cure it had recourse to the remedy 
(held in much repute among natives) of having intercourse with a 
healthy woman '). For this purpose he employed a black slave, and 
did actually recover from his disease. The slave however became 
pregnant, and as in Acheh great weight is given to descent from the 
mother's side, he was distressed at the prospect of having to acknow- 
ledge as his son the child of a black woman. .Accordingly he sent her 
forth into the jungle, in other words into the district of the XXII 
Mukims. In regard to her journey there exist numerous stories which 
chiefly serve to account for the origin of the names of certain localities. 
.According to the legend, the son, whose life was spared by the high- 
landers, became the first Panglima Polem, chief of what is in many 
respects the most important sagi of Acheh. 

This tradition, of which there are also other versions less insulting 
to the honour of the Polem, does not seem to me to contain a single 
grain of historic truth. The title of "elder brother" probably typified 
the original relation between the powerful sagi-chief and the sultan. 
Just in the same way we find two uleebalangs with the official title of 
"grand-fathers" {ne) of the sultan viz. the chief of the Mukim Meura'sa 
(and also in earlier times of the VI Mukims) and the chief of the IX 
Mukims of the XXV, Teuku Ne' Raja Muda Seutia and Teuku Ne' 
Peureuba Wangsa. The title of the chief of Lho" Seumawe, Mahraja or 
Mbahraja, is also explained by the Achehnese as expressing such a 

l) It is a wide spread theory among the natives of the Archipelago, that if a person 
suffering from a contagious disease infects another with it, he thereby ensures to himself 
recovery from or mitigation of the ailment. 


relationship ("father of the king"); it would indeed be very strange 
that such a chief should obtain the title of Maharaja while his liege 
lord was simply called Raja of Achch. 


The relations which prevailed between the house of Polem and the 
sultans of Acheh give continual proofs of the respect commanded by 
the powerful chief of the highlands. Various stories are told about the 
father of the lately deceased Panglima Polem, resembling those narrated 
of the father of the present Tcuku Nanta Scutia, chief of the VI 
Mukims of the XXV. On the few occasions on which they complied 
with the summons of the sultan to come and discuss affairs of state, 
they entered the royal dwelling in foul clothing and addressed the 


sultan as gata (the equivalent of tiitoyer) remarking "we are not wont 
to say deelat." Of the Panglima Polem it is said that he often disre- 
garded for months all invitations to the Dalam, and finally, as a token 
of goodwill, journeyed to the Sultan's frontier and had a heavy gong 
beaten to announce his presence, after which he returned home I Yet 
there arose in his own sagi another chief who thought himself no whit 
liis inferior, the uleebalang of the VII Mukims Ba'et. The power and 
influence of these two potentates are among the most ancient and 
most firmly established of all that now exist in Great Acheh. In the other 
sagis the preponderance alternated between one uleebalang and another. 

The panglima of the XXVI iMukims, had long been a person of 
small importance, as may be gathered from what follows. When the 
holder of the title died during the reign of Ibrahim Manso Shah (1858 — 
70), one Teuku Muda Lampaseh was according to the adat the proper 
successor; he was accordingly, after reporting himself in the Dalam, 
solemnly recognized by the sultan as panglima. 

Even before he had quitted the Dalam the firing of guns was heard 
from the direction of the XXVI Mukims, and it appeared on enquiry 
that the people of that district, who objected to Teuku Muda Lampaseh 
on the ground that lie was an opium-smoker, had installed a younger 
brother of the deceased panglima as the latter's successor. This was 
Teuku Chut Lamreueng, father of the present panglima Teuku Nya' 
Banta, who is also called Teuku Lamreueng '). 

The sultan knew no better way out of the difficult}- than to recog- 
nize the second aspirant as well, so that there were then two panglimas 
in the XXVI Mukims. 

At the commencement of the war both chiefs fled to Keumala, but 
Teuku Lamreueng in the end re-established himself in his territory and 
tendered his submission to the Dutch Government. For this he was 
murdered in Pidie, whither he had gone to fetch his family, by the 
adherents of Teuku Lampaseh. His infant son escaped the same fate 
through the help of a faithful servant. 

This son was afterwards recognized by the Government as Panglima 
of the XXVI Mukims, while after the the death of Teuku Muda 
Lampaseh, the latter's son Teuku Juhan was appointed panglima at 

l) Both were called banta as they had borne this rank during the panglimaship of their 
predecessor. See p. 92 above. 


Keumala. The journeys to Kcumala undertaken by the uleebalangs 
who had tendered their submission to the government resulted in the 


recognition of Teuku Nya' Banta by the court, so that the double 
panglimaship continued to exist, but in fact Teuku Juhan is not able 
to pose as a rival of Teuku Nya' Banta. 

Teuku Imeum Tungkob ') is to this day a powerful chief in the 
XXVI Mukims. The power of Teuku Ateue' (chief of the IV Mukims 
considerable in earlier times than it now is. 

on the other hand was according to tradition much more 

l) See p. 127 above. 

The present panglima of the XXV Mukinis is called Teiiku Seutia 
Ulama, a name which lends weight to the conjecture that an earlier 


holder of the office may have distinguished himself by his legal learning. 
His name among the people is Tcuku Siah (one of the Achehnese 
forms of the Arabic Shaikh) Ulama. He has occupied himself but little 
with the government of the district, and for a long time past the 
power of some of the other uleebalangs appears to have put that of 
their nominal chief in the shade. The true potentates of this sagi are 
Teuku Ne' Peureuba Wangsa, chief of the IX Mukims, Teuku Ne' 
Raja Muda Seutia, uleebalang of the Mukim Meura'sa (and earlier 


also of the VI Mukims), and Tcuku Nanta Seutia, wlio wrested the 
VI Mukims from the last mentioned chief). 

At the election of a new sultan, which was usually decided by a 
war between the different parties, the scale was turned not so much 
by the suppo't of the panglimas as by that of the real wielders of 
power in their sagis. Thus in process of time the number of guardians 
of the sultanate increased, and the Achehnese authorities on adat have 
in noticing this change given tlie rein to their predilection for round 
numbers. They speak of the "twelve uleebalangs, who appoint and 
dethrone princes"; and describe them as consisting of four from each 
sagi '-). To make up the tale of twelve, they call the head kalis of the 
three sagis uleebalangs, which is quite inaccurate. They of course 
include in their list the panglima sagi ') ; thus two are left for each 
sagi who are regarded as the principal uleebalangs, or rather were so 
accounted at the time when the tradition was placed on record. These 
chief uleebalangs are : for the XXV Mukims, the two Ne's already 
several times alluded to ; for the XXVI Mukims Teuku Ateue' and 
Teuku Tungkob, and for the XXII Mukims, Teuku Ba'et, uleebalang 
of the VII Mukims, and Teuku Waki Chi' Gampong Baroh, chief of 
the V Mukims. 

In reality this list (even if we disregard its subordination of facts 
to round numbers) at most represents the conditions that existed during 
a short period. The whole twelve had not in the long run a voice in 
the affairs of the capital, while some of them had absolutely no share 
therein. On the other hand there were uleebalangs in the sultan's 
territory and the so-called wakeueh-districts (as for instance Teuku 
Kali, the Panglima Meuseugit Raya, the Imeums of Lueng Bata and 
Chade' etc.) who had much more weight in the scale than many of 
the members of the board of twelve. Speaking generally however, the 
guardianship exercised by the three sagis over the sultanate remains a 
fact, no matter who may at different periods have been accounted the 
most powerful representatives of each. 

1) Since the "defection" of Teuku Uma, who was married to Chut Diiin, the daughter 
of Teuku Nanta, the Nantas have been declared deposed from the government of the VI 
Mukims, and the native authority in that place is exercised by the young Teuku Kaja 
Itam, son of the late Teuku Nfe' of Meura'sa. 

2) See also Van Langen's Atjehsch Staatsbestuur p. 404. 

3) The panglima of the XXVI Mukims at the time when the list was recorded was 
one Teuku Chut Oh (short for Abdora'dh^ i. e. Abdurra'uf). 

At the solemn installation of a new sultan, his own proper uleebalangs Installation 

r r ■ 1 1 it- 1 1- °f i^ °S^^ 

played more or less the part of masters ot ceremonies, while the kalis suK^n. 
and ulamas gave as it were their blessing to the marriage of the raja 
with his country. 

We shall now give the most characteristic features of the ceremony 
of installation, as related to us by eye-witnesses of the last sultan's 

In the neighbourhood of the royal abode and of the bale roin, in 
which the sultan received his guests, was a square space surrounded 
by a low wall. Inside this there was a platform, also square, composed 
as it seems of stones somewhat roughly piled together, to which access 
was given by a flight of steps. At the side of the platform, which was 
called branda scumali or prdna seitmali, was a small wooden gallery 
supported on posts. The opening in the low enclosing wall giving 
access to the enclosure in which the platform stood, was in the middle 
of its rearmost side, that is the side to which the sultan's back was 
turned when he took his seat on the branda seiimah. 

This platform seems only to have been used for coronations and was 
suitably decorated on these occasions; at ordinary times it was neglected, 
so that anyone passing through the Dalam or Kuta Raja would hardly 
notice it. 

A debate lasting some weeks was first held by the three panglima 
sagi and other influential chiefs (in consultation, so far as they thought 
necessary, with the kalis and ulamas) to determine the most suitable 
candidate for the vacant throne. When their final decision had been 
sealed by the payment of the "wedding" presents to the three panglimas, 
a favourable day was fixed for the ceremony. 

During the forenoon of this day those court dignitaries whose offices 
had not shared the universal downfall, were at their posts — especially 
the Panglima Meuseugit Raya, whose duty it was to keep order in the 
Dalam, and the Teuku Kali Malikon Ade, who performed his functions 
within the space surrounding the branda seuuiali, with his blunderbuss 
hanging from his shoulder, and a white cocoanut spathe wound in his 
head cloth '). 

The new sultan now took his seat on the platform, while the three 
head kalis of the sagis and some of the principal ulamas ranged them- 

i) See pp. 50 — 51. 


Order of 


of the three 



of the sultan 

and the 


selves behind him. A huge crowd watched the ceremony from a little 

The first to approach were the panglima of the XXVI Mukims and 
Teuku Ne', both of whom, accompanied by tlieir attendants, advanced 
close to the wall within which the platform stood. 

One of the kalis, Teungku Lam Paya ') of the XXV Mukims, there- 
upon recited a form of nomination introduced by the following words 
from the Quran (IV, 62): "■Obey Allah and his Messenger and those 
among you who be clad i^-'ith authority^ This utterance was repeated 
in a loud tone by the Teuku Kali so that all the people might hear. 
After the conclusion of the form of nomination, the Teuku Kali called 
the panglima of the XXVI Mukims thrice in succession by his otificial 
title, to which the latter and his followers replied each time with a 
loud "deelat!" almost equivalent to "Yes, Your Majesty!" 

The panglima and his attendants then drew aside to make room for 
his fellow-official of the XXV Mukims; with him, and after him with 
the panglima of the XXII, the above ceremony was repeated, while 
the presence of Teuku Ne' at all three installations gave evidence of 
his intimate relation with the royal house. 

The ofiicial order of precedence of the three sagis on ceremonial 
occasions is always that here given, viz. XXVI, XXV, XXII. One 
might almost conjecture that this sequence was fixed according to the 
original number of mukims in each sagi, and that once so established 
it was always adhered to. Judging by their relative importance the 
order of precedence should be reversed. 

We may further observe that the coronation of the sovereign was 
and remained a contract with the three panglimas, though the choice 
of a sultan was governed to a great extent by entirely different 

The Dalam (usually called Kraton by the Dutch) and all that it 
contained, including the sultan himself, were since the earliest times 
the objects of a somewhat extraordinary reverence in the minds of the 
Achehnese, though this never prevented them from making a football 
of the sultanate at their pleasure. This feeling of reverence was founded 
partly on the fact that the Dalam was the centre and apparently the 
origin of the glory of a past almost fabulous in comparison with later 

1) As to precedence in rank of this liali see p. loi above. 


times, and partly on the kindred fact that the Achehnese (though 
wrongly as we have seen) ascribe all the adats of the country to the 
earlier sultans. These princes did indeed to some degree regulate the 
existing adat and endeavoured in vain to abolish a portion of it; yet 
what they did has sufficed to stamp all unwritten laws and customs 
of the country as "^adat pbten meureuhom" = "the adats of our late 

Thus did the respect in which the reigning house was held develop Respect for 

the dynasty. 

a sort of religious aspect, of which the followmg may serve as an 
illustration. On the occasion of the famous journey of Teuku Ne' of 
Meura'sa and his followers to the court at Keumala, all who accom- 
panied him were implored by their friends and relations to bring back 
with them some water wherein the pretender to the sultanate had 
washed his feet. We may add that this young ne'er-do-well was for 
some time regarded by a portion of his subjects as krainat, i. e. one 
miraculously revealed as the chosen friend of God. 

As however this feeling of awe has within the memory of man 
always been coupled with the conviction that the sole sovereign prince 
of the country exercised no perceptible influence on the conduct of 
affairs '), and was in fact but an expensive luxury like the documents 
sealed with the c/iab sikureu'eng, all this reverence is, comparatively 
speaking, of very slight value from a practical point of view. 

The rumours of the Dalam that reached the outer world were far Conduct of 
from pleasant. The scions of royal blood {tuankus) fortunately for Acheh ^^^ tuankus. 
not very numerous, were (and still are) convinced that they stood 
superior to the adat pbteii meureuhom and all other adats which place 
a restraint upon human passion and wickedness; they often led lives 
of the most savage immorality. 

They used to take from their subjects all that pleased their fancy, 
and death was a light punishment for opposition to their boundless 
license. The daughters of the man of low degree were made the 
victims of their lust, and the results of such concubinage were artifi- 
cially destroyed. 

The people were powerless to resist the misconduct of the sultan 
and princes. The customary retribution for personal wrongs by the 

l) Raffles remarks somewhere that the sultan of .\cheh was revered throughout his whole 
kingdom, but obeyed nowhere. 


wreaking of vengeance was even less available against them than against 
the uleebalangs and other chiefs '). 

In Kuala Batee (Pidie) there was settled in recent times a branch 
of the royal family which was on bad terms with the Sultan. These 
tuankus had been repeatedly declared outlaws by the latter on account 
of piracies committed even on Achehnese prahus and to the detriment 


of the Sultan himself. Yet none dared to assail them, being well 
assured that there was much danger and little honour to be gained 
by the slaughter of scions of the royal house. This is the family of 
pirates to which belong the Tuankus Usen and Abdomajet (Husain 

l) See p. 1 19 above. 


and Abdulmajld) who have now submitted to the Dutch Government. 

There is no pohtical significance in the fact that the people thus 
suffered many an injury to pass unnoticed, preferring to avoid the 
tuankus as mucli as possible. This exceedingly burdensome feudal 
system is simply a relic of past history. 

The servants of the rajas were also a terrible scourge to the people. 

.z.^^ ■:.. <i; 


They were generally men of ill repute — such for instance as had 
fled to the Dalam to escape a righteous blood-vengeance which threat- 
ened their lives. The smallest shadow of an injury was eagerly seized 
on and represented by them as high treason, and they sometimes 
succeeded in inducing the raja or the members of his family to take 


their view. When their caprices could no longer be patiently submitted 
to, it not unfrequently happened that they were secretly put out of 
the way by the people whom they had outraged. 

It is thus not surprising that the traditional reverence of the people 
for the rajas and their race expressed itself in a somewhat peculiar 
manner, finding vent in words and empty forms rather tlian in deeds. 


Examined closely, the power of the later sultans appears to have been 
actually confined to the limits of the Dalam, though the superficial 
observer might draw another conclusion from the persistent survival 
of a different mode of address and of certain forms which really never 
had any substantial meaning. It was not only the powerful uleebalangs 


of the sagis that made war on one another. The lesser uleebalangs, 
who each controlled I2 gampongs (Teuku Kali and Panglima Meuseugit 
Raya) did the same, though their territories marched with the Dalam, 
and they might more than other chiefs have been supposed to be 
creatures of the sultanate. Even the sultan's own followers took part 
in these conflicts, espousing different sides. 

Had a sultan or a scion of the royal house, endowed with exceptional Attitude of 
strength of will and clearness of judgment, placed himself at the head t^e outbreak 
of the struggle a outrance which took place when the Dutch came to °^ ''^'^ "'*"'• 
Acheh, and inspired the Achehnese people by precept and example, 
such a prince would without doubt have been for the invaders any- 
thing but a negligable quantity. Such an one could more easily than 
any other have succeeded in uniting much divided Acheh into a whole 
entirely hostile to the foreign foe. As it is, an ulama who preaches 
holy war is able to deprive an Achehnese uleebalang of the allegiance 
of a considerable portion of his subjects; how much more could have 
been accomplished by a raja who was the ulamas' equal in sacred 
authority, and over and above this was clothed with the legendary 
traditions of the past greatness of Acheh ! 

Such a supposition, however, is not warranted by the actual state 
of things. Political foresight is, in these days at least, foreign to the 
nature of all Achehnese. A raja of Acheh in particular, who plunged 
into the fray with persevering self-sacrifice in the interests of the people 
or their religion would be a phenomenon that the Achehnese themselves 
would be unable to explain except as a revelation of the boundless 
miraculous power of God. 

To this we may add that nowhere could worse material be found 
for organizing a stout resistance to foreign invasion than in the lowland 
districts of Acheh in the immediate neighbourhood of the Dalam. There 
the people were "banda" or worldly-wise, and not duson, "ignorant 
and countrified" like the highlanders. They would indeed have preferred 
the continuance of the old regime without foreign interference, for 
they were inclined by their own past history haughtily to rebel against 
all ideas of foreign supremacy. Yet they were disposed to moderate 
views through abundant contact with non-Mohammedan as well as 
Mohammedan strangers, and were far removed from the frank belief 
in the invincibility of Moslim weapons in general and of those of the 
Achehnese in particular, which inspired the semi-savage highlanders. 


The bands of warriors devoted even unto death found but few recruits 
in the districts near the coast. 

Tlie people of this latter region would have preferred to construct 
out of the inevitable march of events conditions as endurable and 
advantageous as possible, rather than squander life and property with 
but little prospect of success. 

Two causes, however, united to prevent the majority of them from 
bringing this to pass. First, the great internal division that prevailed 
among them and made it easily possible for a man of peaceful counsels 
to be decried as a traitor by his enemies; and secondly the certainty 
that the people of the highlands would never consent to the bargain, 
and slow though they were to render active support outside their own 
boundaries, might treat as infidels all who seemed to take the infidels' 
part. The lowlanders were accounted cowards by their highland brethren 
by reason of their leaning towards peace. 

Thus among the few in the Dalam who at first advised friendly 
negociations with the Gompeuni '), there were some who wished to see 
this policy carried out in such a way as to keep the highlanders in 
ignorance of the real nature of the treaty which they hoped to con- 
clude, and mislead them as to the import of the hoisting of a foreign flag. 

As might have been e.xpected amid the universal hatred and contempt 
for the infidel, which had not yet been reduced within bounds by 
sharp lessons, these isolated voices of worldly wisdom were speedily 
hushed. There was, besides, no single individual or body competent or 
authorized to adopt resolutions as to the fate of Acheh or even of 
the capital itself, since there was no guarantee that such resolutions 
would be binding on others. 

The sultanate at once exhibited itself in all its nullit\\ The resistance 
ofiered was not that of an army collected and led forth by the prince 
or his military commanders, but was the work of unorganized bands, 
which combined their plans only so far as circumstances imperatively 

l) Gompeuni, the Achehnese pronunciation of "Compagnie," is used throughout the 
whole country of Acheh to signify the Dutcli Government. Many of the people believe it 
to be the official title of the representative of that government at Batavia (Peutawi). Others 
use the word in the general sense of "government", and speak of gompcuiii Blatida^ gom- 
peuni Iitggrch (Dutch and English governments). The military meaning of the word is also 
known to the Achehnese, who even use gompeuni in the collective sense of "soldiers." The 
ordinary word for the latter is sidadu. (See also Translator's note on p. 13 above). 


Before the Dutch gained possession of the Dalam, the sultan had 
disappeared from the scene. During the subsequent course of the 
conflict, it was always separate and independent bodies of troops, led 
either by adat-chiefs or by some newly-arisen commanders of energetic 
personality, that turned their arms against the invaders through their 
own impulse or to advance their own interests. Thus the most powerful 
compulsion from without could produce no union in Acheh, utterly 
broken up as she was. The sole individual who succeeded during the 
first portion of the war in organizing the forces to a comparatively 
high degree was an ambitious and skilful foreigner, Sayyid Abdurrahman 
Zahir by name. 

When Sultan Mahmut Shah died shortly after the loss of the Dalam, 
it was not thought necessary even in so perilous a crisis to select from 
among the candidates for the succession to the throne a man before 
all things. They contented themselves with a child, Tuanku Muhamat 
Dawot; and though his guardian Tuanku Asem (Hashim) was a man 
of royal blood most bitterly hostile to the Dutch Government, even 
he preferred to watch the contest with interest from a distance rather 
than himself to take a serious share in it, much less to enter the lists 
as a leader. 

When once the fugitive "court" had found a safe place of refuge in The Sulta- 
Pidie territory, far removed from the theatre of the conflict, the con- °^'« ='''"=J 'he 

■' ' taking of the 

dition of the sultanate became very much the same as it had been Dalam. 
before the war, the scene alone being changed. 

The young sultan, gradually emerging from childhood, soon showed 
that he aspired to something very different from sharing the weal or 
woe of his country as leader of the contest against the Gompeuni. 
True to the traditions of his house, he sought and still seeks diversion 
in lawful and unlawful love, drink, fiddling, fights of animals, gambling 
and the pursuit of elephant and deer. His letters to the Achehnese 
chiefs still always commence with the solemn admonition continually 
to remember "Allah, his Messenger, the departed sovereigns and our- 
selves ;" and this last reminder takes tangible form in the latter portion 
of these letters in a request to forward a certain sum of money or 
some costly merchandise. 

The uleebalangs and chiefs of the dependencies held only just so 
much intercourse with the "court" as their own inclination dictated. 
The edicts whereby some among them are confirmed as holders of 


certain ranks and dignities are just as solemn and pious in form as 
before, but of equally little consequence in practice, as they simply 
imprint the chab sikureii'eng on what has been already won by inheri- 
tance or by the chab limbng '). 
Teungku The famous Teungku Tiro, who died in January 1891, was not, as 

has been so often represented, entrusted by the sultan with the regu- 
lation of religious affairs in Great Acheh. This ulama had worked up 
(by means which we shall describe later on) to the position of com- 
mander-in-chief in the war against the Gompeuni, and wished to arm 
himself to some extent against the jealousy of the adat-chiefs by an 
official authorization of the sultan, whereby he was placed on a level 
with the uleebalangs, or as he preferred to interpret it, over their heads. 
The "court" gave him, cautiously enough, a deed of appointment 
which in appearance made no inroad on the rights of the adat-chiefs, 
as it limited the province of the ulama to religious matters. At the 
same time all the parties concerned were well aware that in the view 
of the ulamas every thing came under the head of religion, especially 
antagonism to unrighteous adats, the waging of war against unbelievers, 
the administration of justice etc. Even after this formal appointment 
Teungku Tiro submitted to no legal dictation from Keumala, nay even 
refused on more than one occasion to satisfy the sultan's demands for 
money contributions. 
Teuku Uma Teuku Uma (Umar) the celebrated chief of the West Coast who rose 
to greatness during the war, obtained supremacy over the whole of 
the West Coast by tact, good luck and knowledge of men. In this 
purely worldly ascendancy he was confirmed in just the same way as 
Teungku Tiro in his so-called religious authority. In this case again 
there was a cautious mental reservation. Nothing could be refused to 
the man who from time to time propitiated the court by generous 
gifts, so in his letters-patent a large portion of the West Coast was 
made over to him. But when some of the hereditary chiefs complained 
of this edict, it was pointed out to them that Teuku Uma was 

l) See p. 132 above. [The pretender to the sultanate was compelled some years ago 
owing to a quarrel with the local chiefs to break up his "court" at Keumala and to settle 
first in one place and then in another. For the last three years (i8g6 — 99) i. e. since we 
have begun to deal seriously with the government of Great Acheh .ind the subjugation of 
its dependencies, the pretender has been obliged to lead a wandering life. He seeks safety 
by constantly shifting his abode and finds his asylum as a rule in the North-coast districts.] 


described in the document as atrii obha {amir id-bahr) i. e. chief of the 
sea, and entrusted with the collection of the sultan's coast dues, but 
that this absolutely excluded the highest authority on land. 

He also both in word and deed yielded to the Sultan only as much 
as he chose, and looked on his sealed letters of appointment as a mere 
ornament that might at times give an official flavour to his pretensions. 

Still less did other chiefs concern themselves about Keumala. Indeed 
the uleebalangs in the sultan's immediate neighbourhood used some- 
times to wage war against him, compelling him to have recourse to 
the help of others, since he himself has no troops, but only a handful 
of personal followers at his disposal. Keumala, the seat of the 
sultanate, had to be subdued by force in the first instance by the 
royal family '). 

Apart from this, the members of the royal family, though compar- The royal 
atively few in number, are far from living in harmony with one another, 
in spite of the critical position of the country. Although the ties of 
blood relationship are strengthened by marriage alliances (for example 
the Sultan has wedded a daughter of Tuanku Abdomajet), the family 
of Kuala Batee is on bad terms with the court. One might be disposed 
to attribute this fact to the submission of that family to the Gompeuni, 
but when we perceive that Tuanku Asem (Hashim) and his former 
ward are on terms of mutual distrust, we are forced to the conclusion 
that even if there were no Gompeuni in the question, unpleasant 
relations would still have arisen with this other branch of the reign- 
ing house. 

Tuanku Asem, [died January 1897 at Padang Tiji in the Mukinis 
VII] according to all who know him is an exception to the majority 
of the men of royal blood in Acheh. He speaks Malay and a little 
Arabic, understands something of English, and can discuss the religious 
books or kitabs as well as the traditions of his country. This last must 
however be taken ciun grano salts, as Achehnese ears can be charmed 
with the purest nonsense on such topics. He is capable of fixing his 
attention on a single subject for a considerable time, is a strict observer 
of his chief religious duties, plays chess, and exhibits in all his utterances 

I) One of these small internal wars in which the Sultan was engaged some time since, 
originated in a quarrel about a sadali^ one of the dancing boys who appear at some of the 
ratebs (recitations) in female garb and excite the passions of the Achehnese paederasts. 


a deep hatred for the Gompeuni, based on events antecedent to the 
Achehnese war. Like all estimates of individual worth, that which we 
can form respecting Tuanku Asem is relative only. The Achehnese, 
accustomed as he is to hear no sensible language from the lips of 
tiianktis and to sec them devote their attention to fighting cocks and 
rams, women, weapons and so forth, is inclined to give a wide signi- 
ficance to any intelligent utterance of a member of the royal family, 
and to exaggerate the mental insight of the speaker. 

Those who knew Keumala, however, were well aware that Tuanku 
Asem did not confine himself to quarrelling with his royal ward over 
the latter's licentious life and neglect of his religious duties. He also 
exhibited much jealousy of the sultan in regard to the receipt of 
presents; he bargained in the pettiest spirit in his name and in con- 
junction with him as to the market value of royal deeds of appointment, 
for which the aspirants to such honours were obliged to pay cash; 
while his political genius, apart from its expression in highsounding 
learned phrases, revealed itself especially in the desire to turn every 
thing into hard cash for the benefit of the "court." 

Under the influence of Tuanku Asem correspondence was kept up 

on the part of the court with such men as Teungku Tiro and Teuku 

Uma in regard to money matters and circumstances closely affecting 

the friends or proteges of the Sultan, but beyond this Keumala exercised 

but little influence on the actions of these two individuals, who in 

their turn rarely held consultations with one another. 

Attitude of Some years ago, when visits to Keumala by chiefs who had sub- 

xtnTand mitted to the Dutch Government were arranged in order to restore 

Teuku I ma them to friendly relations with "the court", Teungku Tiro was at first 

with regard 

to tlie visits disposed to place obstacles in the way of this plan, though both the 
parties concerned desired it. The sultan and his people were in favour 
of it for the sake of the prospective profits, and the chiefs because 
their moral attitude would thus be somewhat restored in the eyes of 
those of their fellows who had not yet tendered their submission to 
the Gompeuni. Nor did Teungku Tiro acquiesce until the cunning 
Teuku Uma had frankly pointed out to him that it would be better 
to permit the renewal of such intercourse, in order that the court 
might draw revenues from the other side of the "linie," and thus 
make less frequent demand on them for financial support. Had it not 
been so, these visits would have come to nothing. Here we have a 


fresh proof of the insignificance of the court, both in relation to the 
affairs of the interior and to the Dutch Government. There was never 
a party at Kcumala, but merely a court clique, which continued the 
traditions of the feeble Dalam that subsisted in the capital in former days. 
[Since the above was written, circumstances have in many respects 
modified the part played by the pretender to the sultanate. See Preface.] 

§ 9. Rivals of the Traditional Authorities; Political 
Adventurers and Representatives of Religion. 

In the last portion of our description of the political system of 
Acheh we have frequently mentioned the names of two men, Teungku 
Tiro and Teuku Uma, who may serve as types of their respective 
classes. They find no place in the ranks of officers of state such as 
the pangUma sagb'c, ule'cbalang, kali, iincuin, kcnchi and tcungkit nieii- 
nasali, yet they arc most weighty factors in the political life of the 
country, and arc not to be overlooked in any description thereof, 
especially where we are examining the development of political condi- 
tions during the past few years. This period is one of disorder, and 
disorder and unrest form the niilicu in which people of both the 
classes referred to live and flourish best, though their influence makes 
itself felt in Acheh in times of comparative repose also. They may be 
called the rivals of the hereditary chiefs. 

The first kind require but brief mention, as they fight the uleebalangs. Political 
so to speak, with their own weapons. They are ambitious men, and 
aim more or less openly at the uleebalangship, the zenith of worldly 
greatness in the eyes of the Achehnese. They are to be found among 
the title-bearers without territory '), who use their position to gain 
themselves followers and to outshine the uleebalang in whose district 
they reside, so as to compel him either to make them great conces- 
sions or to vacate the field in their favour. We have already seen 
examples of this kind of rivalry in the case of Teuku Nanta Seutia 
and Teuku Kali. 

No less dangerous are those adventurers who can only bring to 
bear a more or less illustrious descent, or as its equivalent a reputation 

l) See pp. 92, 126 — 127 above. 


won upon the field of battle, and who are thus able to gain adherents 
in various ulcebalangships. 
Conditions To ensure success they chiefly require such tact as will unite men to 

for tlie success ,t • i.i i. j_i t- r i i < . ^i 

of these ad- then" cause ; they must possess the gift of command, but at the same 
venturers. time reward their followers handsomely and treat them in such a way 
that they will prefer them to the uleebalangs, who are as a rule of a 
niggardly disposition. 

Inaction is for them the prelude to a fall. Nothing but a constant 
succession of fresh enterprises can enable them to augment their in- 
fluence and keej) their rakans supplied with the necessary emoluments. 
War is thus for them a condition of existence ; until they have attained 
their highest aim, they are the enemies of order and repose. Not 
until they have actually become uleebalangs do they remit their 
labours and content themselves with mere ordinary plunder. After they 
have advanced to a certain degree of distinction they do not disdain 
political marriage alliances, where such are likely to give them a firmer 
footing in some important district. 

All these and similar methods have been successfully employed by 
Teuku Uma in the course of the past few years. Beloved by his foll- 
owers for his generous and kindly demeanour, he worked himself up 
from a mere panglima in the war against the Dutch to be the dreaded 
lord of almost the whole West Coast. Throughout the whole of the 
sphere of his influence, his appearance is the signal for the heriditary 
chief to retire into the background, well knowing that if he failed to 
do so it would soon be all over with him. To crown all he induced 
the sultan for a handsome consideration to impress his nine-fold seal 
upon his power by means of a deed appointing him "Sea-guardian of 
the West Coast." 

Teuku Uma's success proves indeed how dangerous such rivalries 
may be for the hereditary chiefs, weakened as they generally are 
through their passion for spoil and money, their narrowness of mind 
and want of energy. Much however depends on the personal character 
of these chiefs. They have equal opportunities for winning the affections 
of their rakans and more means at their disposal for increasing their 
influence than an ambitious leader of troops. Against an energetic 
chief such as the imeum of Teunom even Teuku Uma could make 
but little head. [An account of the subsequent adventures of Teuku 
Uma, since 1892, will be found in the Preface.] 


At the same time these adventurers had the unmistakable advantage 
of introducing a new departure from the old and superseded order of 
things, and the conditions which arose from the coming of the Dutch 
to Acheh were exceptionally favourable to their objects. While the 
hereditary uleebalangs are engrossed by care for their own territories, 
they seize the opportunity to rally around them all the restless spirits 
in each district. They weigh their chances carefully before deciding to 
try their luck against the foreign invader. They lack but one thing, 
which is the special property of the second class of rivals of the adat 
chiefs ; they cannot inspire their followers with holy zeal and self- 
sacrificing devotion. 

This second class requires much more extended notice; it consists Representa- 
of the various representatives of religion or of such as borrow a certain „;ojj 
prestige therefrom. 

So far we have learnt of the indissoluble union and indispensable 
cooperation of hukom or religious law with adat, the custom of the 
country, as being the very basis of life in Acheh. At the same time 
we have constantly remarked how the adat assumes the part of the 
mistress and the hukom that of her obedient slave. The hukom how- 
ever revenges herself for her subordination whenever she sees the 
chance; her representatives are always on the look-out for an opport- 
unity to escape from this servile position. They do not require, like 
the political adventurers, to seek for adherents; these are voluntarily 
furnished by the anthropolatry which is as strong a feature in the 
religion of the Achehnese as in that of most other Mohammedan 

In the earlier days of its existence Islam gave little weight to persons. Respect of 
The Believers had to do with Allah only, and although there were pei-so"^ '° '•><= 

-' ' ° creed of 

amongst mankind appointed instruments of God, who once for all Islam, 
conveyed and interpreted his commands to humanity, these had no 
real part in the salvation of man. 

This was soon modified, and the change grew more pronounced as The Prophet 
time went on and Islam spread beyond Arabia amongst peoples of , ^° , '" 
different requirements and modes of thought. The reverence paid to 
tlie Prophet grew so great, that in the beginning of the present century 
the Wahhabites (following in the footsteps of many learned dissenters 
of earlier times) branded it as idolatry — but this sect was declared 
heretical and persecuted. The same veneration was in a measure 


extended to the descendants of the Prophet, the sayyids and sharifs '). 

The Shi'ite conception of their persons as sacred ^), inviolable and 
entitled to the reverence of all Believers, gradually became part of the 
orthodox teaching, h^vcn had it not done so, the doctrine would have 
become popular in the Archipelago, for Islam as first introduced here 
from Hindustan has always shown Shi'ite tendencies. 

Mysticism has also flourished extensively in Islam. In such esteem 
Koundeis of is it held that the founders of mystic societies {(arlqah), their succes- 

mystic orders. , ^i • i i r ■ <- i 

sors and even the simplest teachers of mystic formulas or practices are 
within their own circle obeyed 1)\' their pupils and reverenced and 
feared by others as a sort of vice-regents of God. 

It was from these societies especially that there arose the ivalis, the 
"friends of Allah". That they are chosen of God above their fellow 
men appears from manifest tokens of a miraculous nature (krainat). 
Their prayers can heal the sick, their blessing brings happiness for 
time and eternity and their curse misery. These influences are believed 
to issue from their graves after their death ; hence vows are made at 
and presents brought to their holy tombs. 

In the popular belief their mediation with Allah, who is of course 
too exalted to occupy himself with the small wants of his creatures, 
is almost indispensable, and the request for their good offices differs 
little from a prayer. 

In the beginning of this centur)*, the Wahhabites protested also 
against this universally prevalent idolatry, but without success. Every 
town, nay almost every village has its patron saint, and also the 
tombs of other holy men, whose blessing is invoked for certain definite 

Under the influence of that mysticism which continually grew in 
po])ularity, and the constantly increasing veneration paid to prophets, 
sayyids and sharifs, teachers and saints, the position of the pandits or 
ulainas has also altered somewhat from what it originally was. As kee- 

1) As explained by me elsewhere, the application of these titles is subject to local 
differences, but as a general rule the descendants of Mohammad's grandson Hasan are 
called sharifs and those of Husain sayyids. Thus in the Indian Archipelago there are say- 
yids only, though the name of sharif is here and there applied to the descendants of say- 
yids born in the country. 

2) As to the development of this veneration for sayyids and sharifs see my "Mekka" 
vol. I p. 32 et seq. and pp. 71 et seq. 


pcrs and spreaders of the knowledge of the holy law, they have a 
claim to universal reverence. Contempt for their word passes almost 
as unbelief. There are among them some whose prayers of mediation 
are invoked during their life time and whose tombs are honoured as 
holy places after their death. Mysticism has so completely pervaded 
more recent Mohammedanism that most of the learned in the law arc 
also the representatives of this deeper, more intimate and secret aspect 
of religious life. 

As regards Achch in particular, tliere is nothing special to be said Veneration 

for sacred 

as to the reverence paid to Mohammed. Here as in all other Moham- personages in 
medan countries, it rises to the highest pitch permitted by the creed '^'•"^"• 
of Islam, which in the beginning zealously set its face against the 
deification of human beings. 

The sayyids occupy as high a position in Achch as in any other 
country of the Archipelago. This may be partly due to their not 
experiencing here the counterpoise of a European government, which 
elsewhere keeps a strict watch on such influential persons: the fact 
remains that they command a deeply-rooted respect and fear. 

Their number is not very great in Acheh, and comprises some who, 
enticed perhaps by the great advantages of sayyidship, parade a false 
genealogy, a trick which would meet with no success in most other 
parts of the Archipelago. 

Native-born descendants of sayyids quickly assume the character 
inherited from their mothers. They lose their knowledge of the Arabic 
tongue, and though they continue in spite of occasional opposition to 
belong to the dreaded and respected religious nobility, they cannot in 
the long run compete with their kinsmen who come over from Arabia. 

Their title in earlier times was Teungku ') Sayet (= Sayyid). The 
celebrated Sayyid Abdurrahman Zahir introduced the custom of sub- 
stituting for these two words the title Habib (literally "beloved") used 
in Arabia as an honorific designation of Sayyids. In conversation the 
word habib is at present used in Acheh to express acquiescence in or 
obedience to the word of the Sayyid, just as dirlat^) is used to the 
sultan. Sometimes the expression pangulee (a variation borrowed from 

1) See pp. 70 seqq. .ibove. 

2) In like manner Teuku, Teungku, Tuan and other such titles are used simply to 
denote concurrence in the speaker's last remark. 


the Pidio dialect) is employed in this sense. It is the equivalent of 
the Malay penghulu ') = chief or lord, a title otherwise confined in 
Acheh to the prophet and his disciples etc. 
Teungku The tomb at present most highly honoured in Achch is that of 


Teimgku Anjong in Gampong Jawa. It is the last resting-place of a 
certain Sayyid Abu Bakar bin Husain Bil-Faqih, and has completely 
outshone the more ancient tomb of Teungku di Kuala alias Abdora'oh 
(Abdurra'uf of Singkel) which enjoyed the highest reputation in 
former times. 

Among the living in like manner we find a Habib kramat of the 
famous family of "^Aidarus '-), a half-crazy young man, the son of 
Teungku di Buket. The father who also enjoyed a reputation for 
sanctity, was in conjunction with the lately deceased raja of Idi (vulg. 
Edi) the first pioneer of that district. A sister of this sanctified madman 
is in her turn so holy that her husband after co-habiting with her 
once, became very ill ami has not since ventured to renew his mar- 
ital rights. 

Some members of another family of Sayyids from Mecca are settled 
in Pidie and used to make occasional journeys to Keumala, where the 
young sultan treated them with the highest honour. 

Not by any means all of the sayyids of Acheh are theologians or 
pandits. Most of them devote themselves to trade or in later genera- 
tions to agriculture, but they enjoy none the less the customary 
reverence based on religious feeling, even where their life is far from 
testifying to a devotional spirit on their part. Such is often the case 
not only with sayyids who have found their way over from Arabia in 
the guise of random adventurers, but also with those born in Acheh, 
who quickly make their own of Achehnese manners and vices. With 
them too these vices are usually more than ordinarily pronounced, as 
they are excessively spoilt from their earliest youth. 

1) Penghulu has a wide range in Malay, just as "imeum" in Achehnese. The P'ciighulu 
Masjid is quite a humble individual, a sort of sacristan of the mosque. The headmen of 
large villages are also called pliighulus\ but in some states the same title is given to an 
official whose position somewhat resembles that of the uleebalang in Acheh. Such for 
example was Sayyid All the Penghulu of Jelebu in the Malay Peninsula, who revolted against 
the hereditary Yam Tuan and became the ruler of that small independent state before it 
came under British protection. (^Trans/alor). 

2) A member of the same family lies buried at Luar Batang in Batavia. His tomb is 
widely venerated. 


The Mohammedan law is averse to allowing women to wed with 
men of a rank lower than their own, and marriages of the daughters 
of sayyids with those who are not sayyids are everywhere of extremely 
rare occurrence. In Acheh hardly anyone not a sayyid would venture 
on such a union, as it is thought certain that the vengeance of God 
would overtake him even in this life. 

The daughters of sayyids must thus always wait until fortune sends 
a sayyid to their gampong; they are then presented for his acceptance 
with much rivalry, nay even pressed upon him. And such daughters 
are not few, for the sayyids are fond of travelling and always ready 
to contract marriages even during a short residence in a gampong, so 
that they beget a numerous progeny. 

In accordance with the adat the sayyids' daughters are, like other 
women, prohibited as a rule from leaving their own gampongs, so that 
there arc to be found among them virgins of a comparatively advanced 
age, otherwise an unknown phenomenon in Acheh. 

From the Achehnese, who is a niggard to all other strangers, the 
sayyid meets a ready welcome, and he need take little pains, even 
though he holds no oflice and has no employment, to secure his own 
subsistence. This is supplied him by the woman he marries or the 
host whom he makes glad with the blessing of his presence. 

In practice it may be said that the Achehnese fears the sayyid more 
than the Creator. This is due to his believing that Allah reserves his 
punishments for the hereafter and is illimitably merciful in the enforce- 
ment of his law against the faithful, whereas the curse of the sayyids 
takes effect here below without any hope of mercy. No Achehnese will 
readily so much as lift a finger against a sayyid ; one who would dare 
to take a sayyid's life would not hesitate to cut his own father's throat. 

The sayyid gives orders in his neighbour's house as if it were his 
own, and no one resents it. Under the protection of an energetic 
sayyid even a European might travel in safety throughout Acheh. 

Names of various sayyids appear in the list of the sultans of Acheh, 
and in several places members of the families of sayyids have suc- 
ceeded in raising themselves to the position of a kind of uleebalangs. 
None however has employed the great respect of the Achehnese for 
his descent with more political tact and more success than Sayyid 
Abdurrahman Zahir, usually known as Habib Abdurrahman. 

Habib Ab- 
durrahman. In the beginning of his residence in Acheh he claimed special atten- 


tion as a strict teacher of Mohammedan law. .His knowledge of the 
kitabs is considerable, though he would not pass for a doctor of law 
in Arabia, but it amply sufticed in Acheh, when coupled with a devout 
life, to make him the head of the religious party. The greatest pandits 
at the capital soon acknowledged him their master. He took the lead 
of his disciples in the services of prayer, and often moved his whole 
congregation to tears. When he talked with his intimate friends their 
usual topic was the moral and religious depravity of the Achehnese. 
He soon acquired the title of "The Habib" par excellence. 

It was not long before the Habib was able to rely fully on the 
support of all the ulamas and those who wished to gain a reputation 
for piety, and of a considerable portion of the credulous masses. From 
every side there poured in thousands of men and women eager were 
it only to kiss the Habib's hand. On such occasions each one brought 
as a gift a measure {gamph) of husked rice at the least, and some- 
times money presents of considerable amount. 

He thus won all the influence that an ambitious Achehnese ulama 
might attain, but rose superior to all such ulamas by virtue of the 
knowledge of the world, keen insight and political talent which distin- 
guished him from the native Achehnese, and also from the fact of his 
being a sayyid. 

So hopelessly divided are the people of Acheh that the greatest of 
ulamas would always find jealous rivals and thus have parties hostile 
to him; but the Habib as a foreigner stood outside parties, and as a 
sayyid was exalted above all the native Achehnese. 

The important chiefs and satellites of the sultan with whom he came 
in contact supplied him with but few real friends and adherents, for 
these representatives of adat, unless they be unusually devout, see in 
an upholder of the hukom a formidable rival. Looking at the circum- 
stances, we at once see that this conservative party is right in this 
view. Whoever advances the pretension of "upholding religion" {peiikbiig 
agaiiin) is their natural enemy, and the most serious part of the 
matter is that they actually lack the weapons wherewith to contend 
against such foes. 

A reformation of the institutions of the country conducted in a 
religious spirit would rob the uleebalangs of everything. Even if the 
work were carried out with the utmost moderation in conformity with 
the national character of the Achehnese, still the whole administration 


of justice now in the hands of these chiefs, and which forms the main 
source of their revenues, would pass entirely away from their control. 
The recreations wherein they now delight would be prohibited, and 
their dignity of ottice would be transferred to the representatives of 
the new order of things. It is thus not to be wondered at that the 
chiefs view the advancement of the "upholders of religion" with inward 
vexation and alarm. 

With alarm, because they have no means of oiifering a fair and open 
resistance to these rivals of theirs. For the Achehnese are all con- 
vinced, and freely admit, that their customs and institutions are full of 
ma'siet (wickedness), and that some reform of their way of life is 
highly necessary. They also believe that it is not so much by com- 
mitting ma^si'et as by defending it that a man abjures the true faith 
and becomes an infidel. How then could an uleebalang, even if he 
wishes to do so for self-preservation's sake, enter the lists as a hostile 
champion against an expounder of the law, whose professed aim it is 
to enhance the respect paid to religion? His own people, on whom he 
can at the best of times place but a conditional reliance, would some 
of them hold aloof, while others would go over to the enemy. 

To rivals such as Teuku Uma, an uleebalang, if he be not too weak, 
can say 'keep out of my territory, you have no right to intrude here". 
The pandit has no territory, or rather his sphere is universal, and he 
that would hinder his work would be deemed the enemy of God. 

The wisest course for the uleebalang is therefore either to keep 
these troublesome rivals at a distance by strategem, or to unite them 
to his own cause. This latter course succeeds best with the ordinary 
Achehnese ulamas, who when unburdened by worldly cares generally 
give pretty free latitude to the adat, and confine themselves to verbal 
criticism of what they find amiss. 

The mass of the people believe in the absolute truth of the ulamas' 
teaching, yet transgress it continually from their youth up. The ulamas 
are wont to conceal their aversion to such sins so long as forbidden 
acts and objects are not obtruded on their notice. The Achehnese 
even judge these transgressions more severely in themselves than in 
an ulama who oversteps the bounds of the law. "He", they say, "can al- 
ways quote some learned text [kawoy] to justify himself, but for us it 
is different." Honour is paid to the ulamas by the observance of cer- 
tain respectful forms and by pious gifts. 


Where, however, an uilama goes beyond these everyday limits and 
travels about the country to enforce reform according to the spirit of 
the law, the respect he inspires increases to the highest degree, unless 
his life be in gross contrast with his preaching, and his proceedings 
manifestly dictated by ambition only. Many Achehnese sinners sympa- 
thize in the fullest sense with such a revival, while the rest dare not 
do otherwise than pretend to assent to it. At times indeed a section 
of the people will range themselves in opposition to such an ulama ; 
not however under an uleebalang, but under another ulama who differs 
from the first in his interpretation of certain doctrinal points. 

The Habib then, as we have already remarked, combined with his 
knowledge of the world and his sacred descent all those characteristics 
which in the long run render the energetic ulama in Acheh the 
irresistable rival of the chiefs. 

Under his leadership a crusade was quickly inaugurated against ram Policy of 
and cock fighting, gambling, opium smoking, paederasty and other 
illicit intercourse, while the people were strongly urged to the fulfil- 
ment of their principal religious duties, as for example the five daily 
seumayangs or services of prayer. 

In the preliminaries to the carrying out of his programme the Habib 
at once showed himself a competent politician. The opium-smokers 
were not tracked down to their most secret dens, but only the more 
public opium-houses were suppressed, and opium smoking in company 
as practised with various formal observances, especially on the West 
Coast, was rigourously punished. 

One or two marriage alliances with the daughters of powerful chiefs 
(including the widow of a sultan) strengthened the Habib's position 
from a wordly point of view, and soon the upholders of the liukom 
recognized with joy, and the supporters of the adat with embarrassment, 
that all others in Acheh were but as dwarfs beside the great ulama. 

The Sultan found himself constrained, after discussion with the most -j-he bale 
important chiefs, to establish a new kind of court of justice [bale "i^uhak.imah. 
menhakainali) in which the Habib should decide all questions relating 
to religion. Here they were confronted by the peculiar difficulty that 
presents itself in every attempt to establish a modus vivendi between 
the adat and the religious law. For this law comprehends eiiery thing, 
and no good Mohammedan can or may suggest the advisability of 
replacing any portion of it by a new system. 


1 62 

In the law of Islam a small place is allotted to the adat, i. e. the 
different manners and customs of different places, but it does not 
admit of any special representatives of adat or systems of rules to 
carry it out. Where recourse is had to laws vvliich arc to a great 
extent based on adat or are called into being by human choice or 
agreement, this can, as we have seen, be only excused on the ground 
that the men and the conditions of the present time are too evil to 
be governed by the holy law. 

When this is once recognized, the questions to be brought before 
the qadhi are strictly defined, and the rest are submitted to secular 
judges, subject to the proviso that in all cases there shall be an appeal 
allowed to the sacred law; or else each question is first submitted to 
the executive, which in certain cases (as for instance rights connected 
with marriage and inheritance) refers them to the qiidhl. Thus the 
position of aftairs though by no means theoretically correct, is practi- 
cally workable. It is only in rare cases of mutinous behaviour, oppres- 
sive injustice or the introduction of objectionable novelties, that the 
complainants resort to the qadhi crying, "the law of Allah !" In such 
cases the ecclesiastical judge, dreading this rude intrusion on his usually 
peaceful life, as often as not absconds in alarm till the storm blows over. 

Where a Mohammedan government is compelled to establish a court 
of justice to deal with all matters connected with the sacred law, there 
arises of necessity a conflict as to the limits of the functions of such 
a tribunal. Here again the party of the adat must as a rule yield to 
that of the hukom in theory, and can only save itself by having 
recourse to circuitous methods, or by seeking a reason for abolishing 
the court thus incautiously instituted. 

Such was the case with the ball- iiii-n/uikaiiurli which the Habib suc- 
ceeded in forcing from the adat potentates; he drew almost all questions 
within the purview of this court, and thus robbed the constituted 
authorities, whom he had made powerless elsewhere by his reforms, 
of all control in this department also. 
Opposition The following is an example of the strategems which his enemies 
a^ ,'f,., ,, employed against him. Certain highlanders were instigated to bring 

"the Habib' . l J i> S & t. 

before him suits which, if dealt with according to the letter of the 
sacred law, could never have been brought to a pacific conclusion. The 
Habib was disposed on such occasions to resort to compromise and 
to set the spirit of the religious law above the letter. How would it 


be then when he, the strict reformer, was requested to decide the 
question "according to the Book of Allah and the sunat of the Prophet ?" 

The Habib saw through the plot and found means to frustrate it. 
Seizing one or two of the pretended suitors by their heads, he said 
"If ye are so anxious for the sunat of the Prophet, go ye first to your 
homes and apply it to your own faces, dogs that ye be". He referred 
to their faces being clean shaven in accordance with the Achehnese 
custom, but in conflict with the sunat. He who in Acheh lets his 
beard or beard and mustache grow (as many leubes and teutigkus do) 
is said to have adopted "the sunat of the Prophet". 

The Habib often resorted to such rough methods with the Acheh- 
nese, even with their principal chiefs. If they put in an appearance 
much later than the time appointed, therein following the custom of 
the country, or sat or spoke in what an Arab would consider an im- 
proper manner, he would smite, kick and even spit upon them by 
way of correction. What enabled him to act in this high-handed way 
was the fact that his followers formed a united and active whole, 
eager for the advancement of his programme, while the opposition 
presented to the view a disordered and disunited mass, held together 
by no other motive than their anxiety to maintain the existing order 
of things. 

The Habib also compelled the Achehnese to do what they were 
powerless to undertake on their own initiative, viz. to carry out 
useful objects by general cooperation. Not only did he get a new chief 
mosque [ineuseitgit raya) erected by public subscription and coopera- 
tive labour, but bridges and roads were also put in hand in the same 

Wherever internal dissensions broke out among the Achehnese the 
Habib was quickly on the spot with his trusty followers to compel 
them to keep the peace. 

Further proofs of his political insight are to be seen in his repeated 
attempts to enter on Acheh's behalf into relations with European 
powers, even with the Gompeuni or Dutch Government. Circumstances 
made him for a time the leader of the "holy war" against the Dutch, 
but whenever the opportunity occurred he always showed that he 
would have greatly preferred some such settlement as would have 
resulted in peace. In this object he was hindered by mistrust on the 
side of the Dutch, and on the part of the Achehnese by their child- 


like confidence in tiieir own invincibility. Placed thus between two 
fires, he finally longed for repose, which he found in accepting a pen- 
sion and migrating to Arabia. 

The Achchncse now generally regard him as an ambitious traitor 
and even suspect him of having served as a spy of the Gompeuni 
from the very beginning. Among the proofs which they refer to in 
support of this theory are included just the very facts which show his 
superiority to the Achehnese in civilization and political insight. Why, 
they ask, did he continually urge us to refrain from deceit and trea- 
chery in the war v\ith the Infidels? Why, when we had surrounded 
the Gompeuni's fort at Krueng Raba with a much superior force under 
his leadership, did he promise a free retreat to the commandant and 
his men if they surrendered, and forbid us, if the offer were accepted, 
to raise a hand against the unbelievers? Iwidently, they now reply, 
because even at that time he had a secret understanding with the 
Gompeuni. They cannot comprehend that the Habib's closer insight 
caused him to give great weight to the impression which his actions 
would make upon the enemy, a matter to which the Achehnese have 
always been utterly indifferent. 

We have already seen how cleverly the Habib took advantage of 
that favourite method of discussion, the viupakat, in his intercourse 
with the Achehnese. 

Considering the circumstances, we must admit the success attained 
by Sayyid Abdurrahman Zahir in the centralization of power under 
his own control to have been nothing short of prodigious. We have 
not overstated the personal characteristics of the Habib; yet he has 
been himself the first to acknowledge that with all his penetration and 
skill he would never have gained his end, had not his position as a 
sayyid furnished him with an impregnable basis of action '). 

The fact, too, that after all that had occurred, after he had been 
branded by so many with the name of traitor and spy, he should still 
(as he did in 1S84) have asked the government as a favour to permit 
him to return to Acheh and there play his part anew under their 
supervision and in accordance with their wishes, proves indeed that 
this man of much experience deemed nothing impossible for a sayyid 
in Acheh. 

l) [This ambitious sayyid died at Jcddah in 1896.] 


Next to the sayyids we mentioned the mystics as having borrowed Mystic 
a certain degree of authority from religion. 

In Acheh, as well as in other parts of the Archipelago, much reve- 
rence is paid to the memory of the founders of mystic orders. We 
have seen how the help of these holy men and especially of Abdul- 
Qadir Jllanl is invoked in the prelude of all the sultans' edicts. This 
sacred name also appears in the curious proceedings which in Acheh 
are included under the terms like and rateb (the equivalents of the 
Arabic dikr and ratib), in the sadati-pantons etc., and also at the per- 
formances called Rapa'i '). At these last Ahmad Rifa% that master of 
mysticism from whom they derive their name, is of course always 

The spiritual successors of these founders, who at present teach 
mystic practices and formulas, also enjoy much respect, but arc not 
very numerous. The tariqahs so popular in other parts of Sumatra do 
not flourish in Acheh, though sundry Achehnese hajis have enrolled 
themselves as members of a tarlqah in Mecca. We can thus here over- 
look three mystic associations which form so weighty a factor in the 
religion of other parts of the Archipelago. 

Walls, saints of sundry descriptions, known in Acheh as wall or more 
usually e'elia ^), are exceedingly numerous in that country. We shall 
meet with them again in reviewing more closely the religious life of 
the Achehnese. In matters political these departed saints only play a 
part in so far as they are invoked by the living. 

The ulamas, the representatives of learning in the law are of much The ulamas. 
greater weight in political life than either departed saints or living 
mystics. We have already touched on their position in our account of 
"the Habib,"' who was himself numbered among their guild and owed 
to that fact a considerable portion of his prestige. 

We shall deal in a later chapter with the influence which is in 
ordinary times exercised by the ulamas over the spiritual life of the 
Achehnese people, as well as with their lore and the method of their 

1) These are religious performances, wherein the performers wound themselves with 
knives, sear their bodies with red-hot chains etc. while the bystanders chant religious for- 
mulas. The wounds are supposed to be immediately healed by the mystic influence of the 
holy personage whose litanies are being recited. 

2) This word is properly the plural of wali in the .\rabic, aiilia^ with an .\chehnese 
pronunciation: but it is also used as a singular both in .\chehnese and kindred languages, 
in the same way as ulaina^ also a plural in .\rabic. 

1 66 

teaching. We may here rest content with ob.servin<,' that Mr. Dor Kin- 
deren (pp. 17 — 18 of his oft-quoted brochure) terribly exaggerates the 
decHne of Mohammedan learning in Acheh. Those who w-rote books 
on theology and law under the wealthy sultans in Banda Acheh, were 
strangers whose influence outside Acheh was at least as noticeable as 
within it. But there are in Acheh at the present time no less than 
formerly ulamas of native birth who compose works of learning and 
edification, sometimes in Malay and sometimes in Achehnese. 

At the time of the coming of the Dutch to Acheh there were 
numerous schools throughout the country; and it is a notorious fact 
that on more than one occasion the students from these schools threw 
themselves, practically unarmed, upon the bayonets of the Dutch troops. 
These were youths inflamed to fanaticism by the teaching they had 
imbibed in regard to the holy war and the boundless recompense here- 
after awaiting the martyr to his creed, without his being called on to 
render further account of his actions in this world. In estimating their 
contempt for death, however, we must reflect upon the fact that at 
that time the most fearful rumours were current in Acheh as to the 
tortures which would be the lot of anyone who fell alive into the 
hands of the kafirs. 
Strengthen- We have already ascertained the grounds of the ulamas' influence 

ing of the ^ , . , , ... t • 1 

ulamas posi- S"<^ f^he facility With which they attain their power. It is however of 
tion through jfij-^rest, especially in view of the present state of affairs, to consider 

the invasion • r j r 

of a non-Mo- the reasons for the great improvement in their position arising from 

hammedan . 

power. the invasion of Acheh by a non-Mohammcdan power, and the consequent 

steady increase of their influence in the conduct of affairs in that country 
in later years. 
The law of The circumstances attending the origin and early development of 
holv war Islam have rendered it par excellence a militant religion, whose aim 
was no less than to convert all who held other beliefs or else reduce 
them to subjection. The teaching of the law, as it moulded itself by 
degrees, comprises a two fold obligation to activity in the holy war: 

i". The joint and several obligation of the community at large to 
spread among all others by force of arms, at the bidding of their Chief, 
the religion or at any rate the sovereignty of the Moslims. 

For the fulfilment of this duty the chief of the Mohammedan community 
should provide by raising a standing army and enrolling volunteers; he 
must also decide as to the manner in which this programme is to be carried 


out. Where difficulties arise, this obhgation may be reduced to that 
of defending Moslim interests against the common enemy. 

The breaking up of poHtical power in Islam into many separate 
kingdoms had this result, that in later times no single chief could be 
pointed to as the universally acknowledged Head of the community. 
Thus the feeling of responsibility among Mohammedans in general for 
the fulfilment of this joint and several obligation has grown much more 
feeble. On the other hand private crusades against infidels undertaken 
by petty potentates or even leaders of marauding bands find much 
favour at the present day — if only they be successful — in the eyes 
of all pious Moslims; whereas such enterprises would formerly have 
been condemned as an injustifiable usurpation of the rights of the 
Ruler of the Believers. 

Forcible conversion of Dayaks, Bataks and similar races by Moham- 
medan chiefs is universally approved of and accounted a fulfilment of 
the joint and several obligation of the Jihad or holy war, as in such 
cases it would be vain to await the command or authorization of the 
Lord of all Believers. 

2". The personal obligation resting on all fighting men, nay in some 
cases even on the non-combatant inhabitants of a Mohammedan country 
to defend their land to the utmost against the invasion of a non- 
Mohammedan enemy. 

The feeling of Mohammedans as such against all who hold other 
beliefs, a feeling which finds expression and confirmation in laws of 
this description, may thus indeed be termed hostile. We encounter it 
continually in all Moslim countries, but in many of them it has greatly 
moderated or even entirely disappeared among the governing classes. 

Mitigation or extinction of such a hatred towards the infidel is 
usually based on extensive intercourse with those of other creeds during 
a long period of time, or else on long habitude to a powerful but not 
insupportable government by kafirs. What usually occurs is that the 
majority of statesmen and those who gain a living by trade and in- 
dustry, gradually forget and practically set aside all the teaching of 
their religion with regard to infidels; while the scholars and theologians 
busy themselves with seeking out and collecting texts which transfer 
to the next world the sharp contrast between Moslim and kafir, and 
limit, in regard to sublunary matters, the abruptness of this contrast 
to what is called religion in the narrowest sense of the word. 

1 68 

Among peoples recently converted to Islam, on the contrary, this 
feeling is usually the first characteristic of Mohammedanism which sinks 
in to their very marrow, retaining its influence all the longer in pro- 
portion to tlie slowness of their growth in civilization and knowledge 
of the world. 

The requirements of Islam for the conversion of unbelievers are very 
small, and the new converts to that creed adopt such of its doctrines 
as soothe their vanity and such of its rules of conduct as are in har- 
monj' with their own ancient customs. To these peoples, in whom the 
savage is as a rule not yet extinct, nothing can be more attractive 
than the idea that they as Mohammedans are the lords of the world 
and that all infidels stand far below them, while the privilege or obli- 
gation of depriving certain of the latter of life or property merely 
gives a new turn to their favourite pursuits of fighting and pillage. 
The Acheh- Now among the Achehnese none of the moderating influences just 
to infidels, mentioned have ever prevailed to any important extent. They were 
never before subjected to a foreign supremacy, and being slow to 
emigrate to other lands and so extend their horizon, they were able 
to cherish a belief in their own supremacy. 

Even Mohammedan strangers such as the Arabs are often vexed by 
the frank conceit of the Achehnese, who will allow no discussion as 
to the excellence of their adats and of all their country contains, and 
the worthlessness of all that belongs to other countries and peoples. 
From this we may easily conclude how little disposed they are to 
learn anything from infidels. 

Nor were the political relations which Acheh has occasionally formed 
with foreigners as the result of her trade and for its advancement, of 
such a nature as to awake any consciousness of inferiority in the 
Achehnese people. These relations were very transient; not one of the 
rajas considered himself bound by the concessions of his predecessors, 
while to their subjects it has always seemed impossible that infidels 
could possess any 7-iglits in Acheh. 

A temporary attitude of friendship towards foreigners was confined 
to the port-kings and those in their immediate neighbourhood. In 
edicts of the sultans we find strict prohibitions of the harbouring of 
kafirs by the Achehnese, the only exception to which was in favour 
of the Hindus, who are regarded as little better than slaves. 

When we consider that it is a common saying in Acheh, in spite 


of the theoretically recognized inviolability of the life and goods oi Moham- 
inedati strangers, "I am no Kling who can be slain unavenged", we 
can imagine how little regard is paid to the life and property of unbe- 
lievers who derive no protection either from religion or adat. 

The history of the Achehnese has withheld from them the indispen- 
sable practical lesson, that Mohammedans may not in fact assail the 
lives and property of those of other creeds with impunity. Thus ap- 
pearances favoured a belief in the truth of the teaching of the old 
adat, which was here in accord with religion ; and we cannot wonder 
that the Achehnese expounders of the law, who had little sympathy 
with any intercourse between Mohammedans and people of other 
nations, should have refused absolutely to admit the use or necessity 
of that remedy of moderation which elsewhere mitigated the strictness 
of the doctrines regarding infidels. 

Here too, just as at Mekka, the special few who through travels in 
distant countries had formed new opinions regarding the proportion 
existing between the power of Islam and that of the unbelieving world, 
kept the results of their experience a secret, as the betrayal of such 
a spirit would have been laid to their account as heresy or concealed 
infidelity. Where the people in Great-Acheh or the literal states re- 
frained for a time from plunder and cheating they did so from a short- 
sighted conception of personal interest, and never grasped the fact 
that their truest interests demanded the complete abandonment of such 
malpractices. We only meet sporadic germs of such a notion among 
the inhabitants of the coasts. 

Infidels who let it be seen that they considered themselves on a 
level with the Achehnese were objects of universal abhorrence; the 
rest were regarded as fair game for all manner of deception and cheat- 
ing, since neither religion nor moral or political insight laid any restraint 
on such conduct where the infidel was concerned. 

This state of things still remains almost unchanged. The fact that 
such is the case is not mainly attributable to the augmentation of 
hatred against infidels which was the necessary result of the invasion 
of a kafir power. Indeed this very invasion gave rise here, and there 
to a belief in the desirability of forming alliances with other infidel 
powers. When all efforts to this end proved unsuccessful, those other 
infidels who would have no relations with the Achehnese save those 
of commerce, rose in the estimation of that people, while their hatred 


was concentrated more than ever against the Dutch, who had for years 
past been the kafirs most detested in Acheh. 
Causes of The cause of the continuance, with but sHght cliangc, of these con- 

the continu- 
ance of this ditions is rather to be sought for in the fact that tlie Achehnesc 

throughout their twenty years contest with tlie Dutch have not yet 
grasped the uselessness of their resistance to the kafirs. For we must 
always recollect that reason, education and other similar influences 
gain no hold upon the self-esteem of Mohammedans until they find 
themselves opposed to irresistable force. Such is the tendency of their 
doctrine and their practice entirely accords therewith. 

The Achehnesc constantly express their conviction that they were 
wrong in ever vacillating for a moment (as they did in the time of 
General van der Heijden), that Allah is manifestly on their side, and 
that the Dutch, infidels worn out by defeat after defeat and beset by 
sickness and other such troubles, must give in at last in spite of their 
apparently superior strength. Further, they believe that the estimate 
of infidels that prevailed in Acheh in ancient times is more reliable 
than the view taken by the people of Meura'sa, Gampong Jawa and 
the like, according to which the wisest course would be to submit to 
the first kafir power that came by. 

Some were indeed disposed to submission from the very first, and 
among them the people of Meura'sa are generally regarded as having 
taken the foremost place. Yet even these have maintained an fond 
their old doctrine in regard to infidels, owing to the ephemeral nature 
of the impression they have received during the last 20 years of the 
power of the Gompeuni. They add however that they find it too 
troublesome to put this doctrine in practice owing to the exposed 
position of their territory. Such a feeling could never have maintained 
its ground, if the Dutch Government had steadily extended its in- 
fluence in Acheh and the people of Meura'sa had continued as in the 
beginning to render the greatest services and enjoy the greateet 
Contempt The common parlance of the people serves to illustrate the attitude 
dels. of the Achehnesc towards the Gompeuni. In talking to one another 

they only occasionally employ the name Ulanda (Hollander) the com- 
moner appellation being kaphc (Ach. pronunciation of kafir), which 
they use without the least ill-will. Furthermore, the Achehnesc has 
two personal pronouns, both of which express the third person for all 


genders and numbers, jili [ji-], which is employed without distinction, 
and gbbnjan [geu'), which betokens a certain respect for the person 
spoken of. Yet this honour which is paid as a matter of course to a 
simple keuclii' is regarded as too high for Dutchmen, even for the 
Governor of Aclieh ; nay, for the Gompeuni itself, which is regarded 
as the supreme ruler. The title of Tuan heitsa or great Tuan (Malay 
besar) which the Achehnese apply to the Governor of Acheh carries 
with it no respect. It is for them a foreign word ') which they occasi- 
onally use to describe high officials of the Gompeuni, and which sounds 
to their ears very much as the "Great Mogul" does to ours. 

Even the people of Meura'sa and Gampong Jawa, who have wholly 
compromised themselves by complete submission, call all Dutch 
authorities ji/i and speak without the slighest intention to give oftencc 
of the regulations of the kaphe, thus in their common talk denying to 
the ruling authority even a comparative degree of lawful right. 

I have myself actually experienced a case where in presence of a 
European official who did not know the language, Achehnese who had 
submitted unconditionally to Dutch rule spoke of him continually as 
ji/i, and the only person in the company who made use of the more 
polite form geii was an Arab long settled in Acheh. 

This state of things is largely due to the fact that the people of Meura'sa 
etc. do not regard our policy and laws as the outcome of common 
sense but as equally burdensome to friend and foe, so that even though 
they might in general admit the possibility of a lawful infidel authority 
(to which in time the title gcu might be applied), the Dutch Govern- 
ment coukl never become such in their eyes. In this connection how- 
ever it must not be forgotten that the narrow limitations of the Dutch 
position in Acheh gave the actively hostile party the control over the 
the common talk, over the views generally expressed as to the situation 
as well as the situation itself Even had a favourable opinion existed 
in Meura'sa and other places which tendered their submission to the 
Dutch, it would have been speedily silenced by this hostile influence. 

From the very commencement, the peacefully inclined exposed them- 
selves to the hatred of their fellow-countrymen by their attitude 
during the first and second expeditions. After the excursions of General 
van der Heijden the feeling towards them began to amend, but later 

l) "Great" in Achehnese is raya or rayeti'. 


on and especially at the present time [1891 — 92] it has become un- 
favourable in the highest degree. 

The same is true of such of the chiefs beyond the liiiic or pale as 
have entered into relations w ith the Gompeuni. As long as it is known 
or supposed that their conciliatory attitude merely scr\-es as a cloak 
to cover deceit or a means to attain some fixed purpose, mistrust is 
silent. If a chief succeeds in this manner in obtaining a yearly pension, 
without rendering any real service to the 'kafirs', his action is esteemed 
most sensible. But as soon as ever he is suspected of being in earnest, 
he loses his good name among his country men, since it is held that 
in existing circumstances nothing compels him to conciliation. 

I once heard a chief from beyond the linie who came occasionally within 
it, complain in the presence of a mixed company that others received 
yearly allowances while he got none. Hereupon some one expressed a 
, doubt as to the value of the services he hail rendered to the Gom- 
peuni; to which he replied that he only wanted yearly pension as 
compensation for the evil name which his relations with the Dutch 
Government had procured him. "And of a truth" said he, "I cannot 
now as I formerly could, point to the superior power of the Gompeuni 
as my justification 1" 

This is sufficient to show that the hatred or at least the contempt 
felt for all others than Mohammedans in Acheh still prevails in the 
fullest force; this hatred and the respect paid to the persons who are 
in one way or another the representatives of religion, are the two 
principal elements of Mohammedanism which are engrained in the 
very nature of the Achehnese. 

The teaching of Islam in regard to the "holy war" thus finds a 

strong support in the character of this people and in the most popular 

ingredients of their creed. In more civilized Mohammedan states war 

has grown to be governed more and more according to the principles 

universally acknowledged by civilized nations, and the "holy war" is 

merely a watchword appealed to in certain circles to excite sympathy 

and devotion. In Acheh on the other hand real use is made of the 

fanatical doctrine of the jihad, which is readily exaggerated to the 

detriment of the kafirs, while those gentler tenets which the "believer" 

events extra- ^^^^^ ^oo difficult of attainment are simply set on one side. 

mely favour- Xhe progress of the Achehnese war has proved extremely favour- 
able to the *^ " ^ ' 
ulamas. able to the ulamas and their class. 


Chance willed that the conflict should begin at the identical con- 
juncture when the whole of Acheh was subjected to the influence of 
"the Habib", The adat-chiefs had at that moment once more received 
a severe lesson from the teungkus and their adherents. The absence 
of Habib Abdurrahman at the time of the first hostile movements of 
the Dutch against Acheh rendered the organisation of the Achehnese 
still more defective than it might otherwise have been. Yet not even 
he, had he been present, would have succeeded in maintaining the 
necessary harmony and (what was most important of all) the neces- 
sary discipline. It is questionable whether a capacity for generalship 
lurked among his numerous talents; but in reviewing his career we 
must always recollect that this man, elevated in so many respects 
above the common standard of the Achehnese, was never influenced 
by a belief in the power of Acheh for continued resistance. 

Be this as it may, he was absent at the outbreak of hostilities. The The begin- 

_ . ning. Anatio- 

contest between the Achehnese and the Gompeuni was from the very ^al war. 
first a national war. This followed as a matter of course from the state 
of popular feeling which we have just described, coupled with their 
universal skill in the use of arms. But it was an Achehnese national 
war, that is to say one in which unity of conduct and fixity of plan 
were entirely wanting. 

Many there were who sought the coveted death of martyrs to their 
creed, selling their lives as dearly as they could. Sometimes they 
fought in separate bands and sometimes they joined the standards of 
those adat-chiefs who took the most zealous part in the defence of 
the capital, such as the Imeum of Lueng Bata. 

This Imeum [he died in the year 1901 during the military operations in 
Samalanga] was a rare phenomenon among the dealing with men. Like 
most of his fellows he sought to be foremost at fights of animals, gambling 
parties and sanguinary internal forays. At the same time he possessed 
those qualities whereby an Achehnese may rise to be an uleebalang 
though not entitled to such a position by his birth. Continually sur- 
rounded by boys, he complied with their demands for the repair of 
their kites and toys as generously as with those of his followers when 
they begged him to put the requisite fine edge or polish on their 
weapons. In battle and arduous toil he always encouraged the others 
by his own example, and at the sharing of profit or spoil he forgot 
no one. Dissolute though his life was when viewed from a religious 


standpoint, he was unsurpassed in his hatred of the infidel, while not 

behind the majority of his countrymen in his reverence for saints and 

Mistake of The great defect in most of the hereditary chiefs consisted and still 

hereditary .... . . 

chiefs. consists in this, that their religious and political convictions never 

impel them to action on behalf of Acheh ; they wait as long as pos- 
sible to see whether their own territory will be threatened. Even where 
some responded to the repeated calls for help by coming to the rescue 
with their followers, they were unable to hold the latter together and 
the auxiliary force soon melted away. For it is an evil custom with 
most of the Achehnese chiefs when they call out their subjects for a 
distant expedition, to make little or no proper provision for their 
maintenance on the journey or in the foreign territory which is their 
objective. The obvious result is that even the most frugal and kafir- 
hating Achehnese soon abandon a contest with superior forces under 
such circumstances. 

Hereditary chiefs, newly created panglimas and devout volunteers 
organized their bands of fighting men as well as they knew how, but 
complaints were rife of the inconsiderable levies sent up by the people 
of Pidie and the highlanders with all their \aunted courage. Mean- 
while in the Dalam old cannons were dug up out of the ground and 
loaded with an extraordinary collection of projectiles, which on various 
occasions proved more fatal to the Achehnese gunners than to the 
soldiers of the Gompeuni. 

In the beginning the trust of the Achehnese in God's help seemed 
now and then to be justified. Where they met with reverses the representa- 
tives of religion were ever ready with their explanation. 'He that will 
carry on a holy war with assurance of victory must begin," said they, 
"by turning from all his iniquities." Small wonder that Allah did not 
always cause the arms of Acheh to be victorious since he had so much 
ma'siet (trangression) to visit on the people. When the Habib returned 
from his travels and assumed the leadership of the resistance to the 
Dutch, the ulamas pointed with satisfaction to every additional success 
achieved. Here was one who carried on the war according to the 
rules of the sacred books, while the adat chiefs knew nought of them 
and spent their spare time in forbidden pleasures. 

Finally there came severe lessons; in particular, the marches of the 
Dutch troops through the highlands established the conviction that 


further resistance was impossible. The "sons of the upper reaches of 
the river" bragged no more but took to fliglit; the most determined 
opponents of the invaders retired to distant hiding-places. The Habib 
was only too glad to bargain for a handsome yearly allowance in con- 
sideration of his submission. After a short time neither the fanatical 
ulamas nor the ambitious guerilla leaders could any longer check 
the flow of population to the lowland districts and the capital itself. 
Prices had risen, and there was much to be earned from the kafirs 
by those who laid down their arms. 

We must always recollect that hatred of the infidel is never, any 
more than any other passion or inclination, the sole ruling motive of 
a nation. 

With peoples like the Achehnese, various causes have combined to 
make this hatred a habit, which however may be controlled by superior 
force and unlearnt through continued intercourse; and in this inter- 
course freedom of trade and some much-needed reforms in the admini- 
stration of justice are important factors. 

Every Achehnese knows and approves the proverb "Agriculture is The prince 
the prince of all (methods of) breadwinning" '). A nation holding this winning, 
opinion and having besides no political unity would, if taken in the 
mass, be certainly disinclined to maintain a fruitless resistance which 
would kill their staple industry. Yet it may by a combination of cir- 
cumstances be partly incited and partly driven to take part in such 

As the territory invested by the Dutch presently became reduced f'-ueiilla 


to narrower limits, the party of irreconcilables, which was now in a 
minority, was inspired with fresh life. Those who for the time being 
acted as organizers of resistance were for the most part the energetic 
adventurers of whom we recognize a type in Teuku Uma. The latter, 
as well as the members of the family of the Imeum of Lueng Bata 
and others .saw in the prevailing confusion a chance of essaying their 

We must not take a onesided view of the motives of these guerilla 
leaders. Without doubt a disordered state of affairs is favourable to 
the attainment of their purpose, even though it may not arise from 
the invasion of an infidel power. It gives them a chance to gain 

l) Pangu/ii harcukat mciigb'e. 


adherents, and, if all goes well, to attain a degree of power such as 
compels the respect of the inactive hereditary chiefs. Nor is the 
religious element lacking even in their case, for we must always 
recollect that no single Achehnesc has any doubt of the meritorious 
character of the struggle with the Gompeuni, a belief shared even by 
those who are least inclined to risk their lives for the cause. 

The raw material from which these chiefs recruited their bands was 
of a very varied description. Vagrants without visible means of sub- 
sistence, who in ortlinary circumstances supply their needs in the way 
of rice and opium through theft or (especially in the highlands and 
sparsely populated districts of the West Coast) through murder and 
rapine, could choose nothing better than to turn from their evil ways 
and pursue their old trade under an honourable name, with the certain 
expectation of plunder or an incomparable recompense after death. 
Among the religious students some are always to be found who are 
inspired by their teachers with a desire to become shahids or martyrs 
to the faith. The younger men in the gampongs are also subject to 
the incentives of hot blood passion for the glory of battle. Where the 
war is against an infidel enemy even their parents cannot withhold 
them from what all believe to be a pious task. 

These bands, however, are too much wanting in organization to 
remain long on foot unless constant encounters give them the chance 
of getting plunder. Where this fails they are strong enough to compel 
the people of the gampongs in their neighbourhood to provide for 
their maintenance ; but this soon creates disgust, all the more because 
these troops are not as a rule distinguished by a godly life, except as 
champions against the infidel. 
Rise of the Here it is that the ulamas have their golden opportunity for making 

ulamas. their influence felt. While allowing all credit to the guerilla leaders 

for their endeavours to cause loss to the infidels, the ulamas can — 
nay are bound by the text of their sacred books to point out that 
siicli leaders can lay no eftective claim to general cooperation. The 
war ordained of Allah must be waged in conformity with His decree. 
The finances Allah himself has indicated in his holy law the sources from which 

of the holy ^j^^ ^^^^ ^^ ^.j^^ \\o\y war should be defrayed. Part of the provision 

war and the •' j r 

manner of must be made from the revenues which the Moslim state derives from 

their admi- . ,_/ai -i 

nistration. unbelievers, and a portion of the religious tax zakat (Ach. jakeuct) 
must be specially set aside for this purpose. Strenuous appeals must 


also be made for increased voluntary contributions, emphasis being laid 
on the great reward that hereafter awaits those who have sacrificed 
life or property for the holy cause. But the troops must refrain from 
levying contributions on the villages in whose neighbourhood they are 
encamped, for on such acts no blessing can rest. 

The manner of distribution of the spoils is also strictly defined in 
the law; disregard of these regulations will render the offenders liable 
both to defeat at the hands of their enemies and also to the visitations 
of God's wrath. 

Finally there can be no success where small bodies of troops act 
without central organization. There must be leaders to supervise the 
whole and keep a watch over the faith and all who hold thereby in 
the beleaguered land. 

The Raja of Acheh is almost a negligable factor so far as the position of 
his country is concerned. The uleebalangs, the true chiefs of the country, 
indolently shut themselves up, each within his own landmarks, and are 
incapable of united action. The leaders of the bands of volunteers fall 
short of the conditions which must be fulfilled by commanders in the 
holy war. Thus, say the ulamas, it is on us that the duty rests of 
regulating the conduct of the jihad. 

Such and the like was the train of reasoning on which was based The "con- 
the development of the power of Teiuigku Tiro and his cooperators "JJ/^ '"{J^ 
or rivals. Their influence grew little by little, but if asked to name a beginning of 

_ the period of 

starting-point we should say that the period of the ulamas began with the ulamas' 
the so-called policy of concentration of the Dutch. Hitherto they had 
remained somewhat in the back-ground ; hence forward they became 
the real leaders of the war. 

It was then that their voices were raised more audibly than before 
in reproach of the uleebalangs for their inaction and of the people of 
the gampongs for setting the earthly reward above the heavenly, for 
being backward in the work of reform and for lending but little 
assistance to the fighters. "Your former pretext" said they, "of the 
difliculty of contending against a superior force has now proved itself 
a mockery."' 

Each energetic ulama travelled to and fro in the sphere where he poss- 
essed or hoped to acquire influence, proclaiming with renewed vehemence 
the principles of the holy war. The better to prepare for the great 
work, ruinous mosques were to be repaired, religious worship held in 


high esteem, and the transgressions of the people checked. The godless 
pleasures of the Achehnese must come to an end. 

They did not indeed require military service of every villager, 
but all had to hold themselves ready to lend assistance in case of 
need to the bands of volunteers posted in various places. They had 
also to be constantly prepared to assist in the construction of the 
kutas or forts occupied by these bands, to acquaint them with any 
danger that might threaten, to provide for their needs, and take before 
the teungku under whose jurisdiction they were, all complaints as to 
their behaviour. 

These ulamas are in some respects more interesting to us than the 
sayyids. The former have not it is true that impregnable character 
which the latter borrow from their birth, and their prestige depends 
more largely on the respect which they personally inspire; they are 
also, as being Achehnese, more easily involved in party quarrels. But 
sayyids or other foreigners who are able and willing to play a poli- 
tical part in Acheh are only chance phenomena and not necessary 
components of Achehnese society, of which the ulamas form an in- 
dispensable element. The notable example of "the Habib", too, has 
proved that strangers are prone to abandon the cause when the fire 
grows too hot for them. 

Teungku Tiro was par excellence a leader from the time of the 
"concentration" till the day of his death. 

Tiro, a gampong in Pidie, owes its reputation partly to the teaching 
in sacred subjects of which it is the seat, and partly to the number 
of distinguished ulamas whom it has produced. The latter, if not drawn 
elsewhere by marriages with women of other gampongs, returned to 
their native place in their declining years, so that many of them lie 
buried there. To the sanctity of their tombs and the constant presence 
of influential ulamas the place owes the peculiar privileged position 
generally designated by the word bibeiicJi '). 

Here the neighbouring chiefs have made over to the ulamas the 
maintenance of law and order, so that the adat has in this place had 
much less significance than elsewhere. These same chiefs have made 
no claim on the services of the people, they have respected Tir6 as 
a place of refuge for such as had become involved in internal feuds, and 

ij Sec above p. 122. 


refrained from hostilities in the neighbourhood of its meunasah. Even 
members of hostile parties could meet one another there without fear 
of a disturbance. 

The most prominent ulama of the time in Tiro, to distinguish him 
from the other teungkus in the place, was usually called Teungku 
Chi' (the Old) and was elsewhere known simply as Teungku di Tiro 
or Teungku Tiro. As a rule blood relations or collaterals succeeded 
each other in this position. 

When Teungku Tiro Muhamat Amin (the then Teungku Chi' di 
Tiro) died in December 1885, he was succeeded by his collateral 
relative Cheh Saman (Shaikh Samman) who had long been his righthand 
man. As the son of the deceased, although a good scholar, was still 
too young to take his father's place, the designation of tlic Teungku 
Tiro passed to Teungku Saman. 

Favoured by the progress of the war, this man gained for himself 
a unique position. We have already seen how the chah siknremng of 
the Sultan could do no more than set the stamp of officialdom on the 
power he had already won. The authority given him over religious 
questions in Great Acheh was just as vague as the definition of the 
judicial power of the Habib at the establishment of the bale meiiha- 
kamali '), and gave equally free play to the natural course of affairs. 
Teungku Tiro did not concern himself about the insignificant Sultan, 
nor, except in so far as was absolutely necessary, about the uleebalangs. 
As the representative of religious law he could assume full powers, and 
none dared to show him open hostility ^). 

In his letters lo the Dutch Government Teungku Tiro always tried 
to show the superiority of the power of the ulamas. In one of his 
pamphlets he expresses his astonishment that the Gompeuni were from 
the very commencement so eager to obtain concessions from the 
Sultan. It .should, he says, have been remembered that the Sultan could 
do nothing without consulting Teuku Kali, Teuku Ne' of Meura'sa, the 
Panglima Meuseugit Raya and the Imeum of Lueng Bata ; that these 
four were in their turn dependent upon the decision of the three 

1) See p. 161 above. 

2) In the few cases of apparent enmity against him on the part of some of the chiefs, 
their hostility besides being of a somewhat harmless description was in reality always 
directed against some panglima (military leader) of the ulama on account of some excessive 
interference with their traditional privileges. 


I 80 

panglimas of the sagis; tliat tlic latter had no power without the 
acquiescence of the seven kawoms (the traditional expression ') for the 
Achehnesc people); and tliat the people themselves could only act in 
accordance with the determination of the ulamas, zvfio derive their kndiv- 
ledge from Allah and his Apostle. 
The war- Tcungku Tir6 knew as well as anyone that money is the life and 
soul, even of the holy war. He pushed on with the utmost zeal the 
collections of the lui sabi [haqq sahll) i. e. the portion of the tax 
callad zakat set apart for the holy war. He urged all the chiefs at 
least to give him money contributions towarils the good cause, even 
if they would take no personal part in the conflict. Whoever appeared 
backward in this duty became exposed to the enmity of the Teungku's 
followers. When the adat chiefs protested, his answer was that he was 
desirous of giving full weight to their adat qualifications; but these he 
never defined, and always submitted any questions that arose to the 
test of the religious law. He denied that he wished to deprive them 
of a handsbreadth of their territory, but as the representative of religion 
he required of their subjects a strict obedience to the law of Allah. 

At that particular juncture these subjects cherished especial respect 
and fear for the ulamas, feelings which were not as at ordinary times 
counterbalanced by other circumstances. It was thus that the Teungku 
succeeded without difficulty in obtaining the control of a never-empty 
coffer for the purposes of the war. No uleebalang would have ever so 
much as conceived the idea of establishing such a treasure-chest, 
replenished by contributions from the whole of Great Acheh and a 
great part of the dependencies in the North, East and West Coasts. 

Given money, men are not lacking in Acheh. The Teungku's troops, 
it is true, were formed in part of those very vagrant elements which 
had formerly supplied Teuku Asan, Teuku Uma etc. with their fighting 
men, but each recruit was first duly "converted" by the Teungku, 
strictly drilled and subjected to a better discipline than suited these 
so-called panglimas. Thus he raised a sort of standing army, and took 
care at the same time always to have a well-armed reserve of gam- 
pong men. 

At the same time he maintained his influence over the people by 
making constant journeys and holding at his halting-places great ,('««^«/r;j 

1) See above p. 52. 


or religious feasts, at which there was no lack of exhortations. Even 
during his life time he was revered by many as a saint, and in order 
to satisfy the demand for ''ajeumat'" (^ charms) he was obliged in the 
end to have a stamp made bearing a mystic delineation of the 
Prophet's sandal ; this he impressed on slips of paper for those who 
demanded a blessing. 

Wc must however be on our guard against exaggerated ideas of the Envy of the 


unanmiity of the Achehncse under "The ^ ' '^^^ power. 

Teungku". It was not alone the adat-chiefs 

who witnessed the supremacy of this ulama 

with ill-concealed annoyance ; among the 

members of his own guild also there were 

not wanting envious detractors. During his 

lifetime the opposition of the latter was much 

restricted, indeed hardly noticeable by the 

uninitiated ; now that he has been some years 

dead (he died in 1891) we can easily gather 

how jealousy may at times have thwarted 

his purposes. The principal rivals of Teungku 

Tiro were the active Habib Samalanga [died in 

December 1901] and Teungku Kutakarang. 

The Habib of Samalanga, who originally ^ „ ,^„,. , ..,.,. Habib Sa- 


, , , . . , . ,• ■ r 1 malanga. 

had his residence in the district of that name, teungku tiro. 

was a sayyid born in Acheh and thus of less consideration than those 
who came direct from Arabia. His learning must have been below the 
average and would never have excited remark had it not been for his 
religious nobility. He came to Great Acheh in order to take part in 
the direction of the jihad, especially in the XXVI Mukims. Just like 
Teungku Tiro in his sphere of action, he here gathered in the ka sadi 
and other contributions to meet the expenses of the war. 

In order to appear in the eyes of his followers as at least the equal 
and if possible the superior of "the Teungku", he had to distinguish 
himself from the latter in some particular way. This he did ; his spe- 
cialty was tapa ') or seclusion from the world. He would remain isol- 

l) TaJ>a in the sense of absolute hermitical seclusion is admired and respected, but very 
seldom practised by the Malays of the peninsula. When ascending Gunong Jorai in Kgdah 
I heard of a holy hermit there who had spoken to no human being for five years; but he 
was said to be a stranger. Tapa for short periods is however popular. (^Translator), 


ated {kaleuiit) for from seven to forty successive days in a cave at the 
source of the Krueng (river) Daroy, a place which was from ancient 
times chosen for such devotions '). 

His followers had also occasionally to submit to a similar course of 

tapa; it was in fact one of the ordinary punishments imposed by him 

for various offences. 

Opinions of Habib Samalanga also differed from Tcungku Tiro in his opinions 

in"^respccVto respecting those Achehnese who either lived within the linie or went 

theAcheh- thither to trade. 

nesc within 

the ///«v. During the greater portion of the period of his activity "the Tcungku" 
declared such persons to be little better than unbelievers, and did not 
raise a hand in protest when his troops robbed them of their property 
or even of their life. He refrained indeed from giving open orders in 
this spirit, since he would have had in that case to reckon with ulee- 
balangs of distinction who were guilty of the same offence. Still his 
views were generally known, and when certain of the chiefs implored him 
to deter his troops from slaying their fellow-Mohammedans even though 
they lived or had intercourse within the linU', he used always to change 
the subject with some meaningless remark. 

It was only when Teuku Uma had convinced him tliat it was in 
many respects desirable ^) for the chiefs and notables within the linie 
to keep in touch with the court, that he at length changed his tactics. 
Causing these Keumala pilgrims to appear before him, he received 
them in a friendly manner, and said that under existing circumstances 
he would only urge them in a general way to an increase of religious zeal, 
and would place no obstacle in the way of their journeys to Keumala. 

Habib Samalanga on the other hand consistently taught that all 
submission to or intercourse with the infidels was a sin, though not 
one which made the offender a complete outlaw. Whoever was brought 
before him convicted of this sin, was condemned to isolation in the 
cave, there to do penance for some days and prepare himself for 
conversion from his heresy. 

After the death of Teungku Tiro, the friends of Habib Samalanga 
succeeded in obtaining for him from the court a nine-fold seal similar 

1) A Javanese whose tomb is now an object of veneration at Ulee Lheue is known by 
the name of Teungku I,am Guha, having done l<ipa for successive years in this cave of 
the Daroy. 

2) See p. 150 above. 


to that which had been in the possession of the deceased ulama. This 
chab sikureucng could not not however raise this sayyid to the elevation 
which Teungku Tiro had attained without any such symbol of authority. 

Another rival of Teungku Tiro was Teungku Kutakarang, an active Teungku 

di 1 . ,• Kutakarang. 

clever but peculiar man. ^ 

Many years ago, before the coming of the Dutch to Acheh, his 
eagerness to pose as the teacher of doctrines different from those of 
the majority of Achehnese ulamas, made him in many circles the 
object of hatred or ridicule. He was always trying to entice away the 
disciples of others, and his own decisions on points of law were of so 
strange a character that he was once banished from the capital in the 
sultan's name. 

The war gave him the opportunity, especially after the "concentra- 
tion" of trying his fortune afresh. At first he worked side by side 
with or even under the leadership of Teungku Tiro, to whom he found 
himself constrained now and then to pay homage in public. In the 
circle of his intimates, however, he spoke contemptuously of the great 
man as Leube ') Saman, criticising his rules and decisions, and certainly 
felt but little sorrow at the death of that honoured and dreaded ulama. 

Probably more from love of contradiction than from conviction, he 
taught that relations with those within the linie were not sinful, nay 
should even be encouraged. Such intercourse, he urged, is a source of 
profit to many, and moreover it gives an opportunity of inciting both 
Achehnese and foreign Mohammedans within the linie to disaffection ; 
enterprizing persons can under colour of peaceful purposes strike their 
blow within the enemy's lines, plunder and slay and then retreat 
in safety. 

Those ulamas departed from these and the like opinions whenever it 
served their purpose; at the least they pretended not to notice when 
others failed to adhere to them. It was as a rule only unimportant 
points of difference in their view to which their mutual disfavour gave 
a stronger significance. 

Thus Teungku Tiro taught that the prohibition of Moslim law against 
the wearing of gold or silk (a rule universally transgressed in Acheh) 
applied also to combatants in the holy war, and that the latter must 
especially refrain from that offence, as the conversion from sin which 

l) See p. 71 above. 


was the guarantee of their success would otherwise be incomplete. 
Teungku Kutakarang on the other hand decreed that no such rules 
had any application to the warriors of Allah, and carried his opposition 
so far as to insist on their wearing gold and silk so that the Dutch, 
finding these costly objects on the bodies of the slain, might be dis- 
mayed by the wealth of Acheh which defied all reverses. 

Another peculiar tenet of Teungku Kutakarang was that under 
existing circumstances the Friday service (which is universally performed 
in Arabic) should in Acheh be preferably celebrated in the Achehncse 

Again, in opposition to Teungku Tiro, who laid great stress on good 
works (building of mosques, public worship etc.), Teungku Kutakarang 
classed all these as mere "louse-questions", for which the "elephant" 
that lay in the path should not be neglected. He described as misspent 
all the money that Teungku Tirot lavished on kanduris and on the 
repair of chapels; it should have been utilized to erect forts (kuta) all 
along the /inie, and to fit out a fleet to harass the enemy by sea as 
well as land. 

He also teaches great forbearance for the faults of the combatants 
in the holy war. He tries to prove by examples from the sacred 
tradition and from history that much indulgence must be extended to 
them, as many sins are forgiven them in consideration of their noble 
work. Teungku Kutakarang thus caused the fighting men who lodged 
with him at times while reposing from their restless occupation to be 
treated as distinguished guests. Contrary to Achehenese custom they 
sat at table upon chairs, and water was set before them in glasses in 
place of brass drinking-vessels. 

Finally he was at much pains to enhance the repute of the 'pepper 
saint", Teungku Lam Keuneu'eun, whose tomb in the gampong of the 
same name in the IX Mukims has always been revered as sacred. He 
delighted to call himself the servant of the tomb of this Teungku, by 
whose miraculous power the pepper-plant originated in Acheh. Teungku 
Kutakarang lives in the neighbourhood of that tomb and so of course 
becomes the recipient of the numerous gifts dedicated thereto. 
The conduct The complete establishment of Teungku Kutakarang's power properly 
of affairs after j^^^^ ^^^^ ^^^ jg^^j^ ^f Teungku Tiro. The latter had no successor in 

I eungku ° 

Tiro's death, the true sense of the word ; his son, the wellknown guerilla leader Mat 
or Ma' Amin, by no means followed in his father's footsteps. 


In view of existing circumstances his father had deemed it wiser to Teungku 
train him up as a soldier than as a pandit, for which latter career he 
possessed little capacity or inclination. He mastered however as much 
religious learning as every person of ordinary piety requires to know, 
and was always distinguished by the title teungku as being the son of 
the great ulama. As a matter of fact, however, he was a guerilla chief 
and nothing else, and borrowed from the great authority which his 
father's name everywhere inspired an influence which raised him to 
the position of chief panglima. 

In this capacity he and his bands proved a great burden to the 
people, and his life was in other respects also far from harmonizing 
with the teaching of his father. The story goes that during the last 
years of the latter's life Mat Amin lived openly with another man's 
wife, and that Teungku Tiro, to give him a severe lesson, forbade him 
access to his presence. This appears to have so enraged the young 
man, that he brooded over some device to rid him of this tiresome 
father. When Teungku Tiro, while still in the full vigour of life, suddenly 
fell ill, he is said to have expressed the conviction that poison had 
been administered to him by some agent of his son. 

Notwithstanding this he had Mat Amin summoned to his bedside 
when dying, and solemnly warned him to go to the devout ulamas 
for advice, and to forsake his evil ways. He seemed however to 
realize how little chance there was of his son's ever proving his true 
successor in any respect. 

The latter was not wont to hearken to advice. In his dress he 
assumed the character of an uleebalang, and while his father, in 
receiving distinguished guests, always rose to meet them, the young 
man would remain sitting until they came up to him. Even the 
Achehnese consider Mat Amin proud, ignorant and headstrong, and 
when after his father's death he gave the rein more than ever to his 
evil passions, the great body of the adherents of Teungku Tiro at 
once melted away '). 

l) [Mat Amin was killed in action in 1896, when the Dutch troops captured the fortress 
of Aneu' Galong. Two other sons of Teungku Tiro, Teungku Beb (died 1900) and Teungku 
Mahidin or Ma' Et, together with their kinsman Teungku Chot Plieng (died 1901) much 
respected for his piety and learning continued to do their utmost to maintain the collec- 
tions of the sabil contributions in the dependencies on the North Coast. Great Acheh no 
longer furnishes a field for the labour of these men and their fellows.] 

1 86 

"Exhortation Teungkii Kutakarang then roused himself to greater activity. He 
inactive", circulated, under the Arabic title Tadkirat-ar-rZikutm (exhortation to 
the inactive) an enlarged and amended edition of a number of politico- 
religious pamphlets which were already known within a narrower 
circle. Therein he proclaims in the common Achehnese metre the 
principles we have sketched above, and seeks to rouse the people to 
better organization and increased energy. In this work, of which I 
have succeeded in obtaining three copies, the Dutch are represented 
as outcasts of humanity whose aim is the destruction of the countries 
over which they hold sway; while at the same time attention is drawn 
to their powerlessness in respect to Acheh. 

The Achehnese, he proceeds, are well able to expel the Dutch ; even 
the very babes are best appeased by being offered a sword as a toy. 
The country is rich enough in munitions of war and wants nothing 
but good generalship. 

The Sultan he hardly mentions. He only employs the similitude of 
the marriage of the Sultans with the State of Acheh ') to give point 
to the remark that a bridegroom who will not lift a finger to save his 
bride from the stranger is unworthy of her. 

The ulecbalangs, he continues, hold no consultation with the ulamas 
as they ought to do ; they think only of their own particular interests 
and by reason of the "louse questions" (so runs the Teungku's favourite 
metaphor) which cause disruption between them, they see not the 
"elephant" which threatens the whole nation. 

The people of the gampongs are also to blame, for many of them 
imitate the inactivity of the uleebalangs and withdraw from all share 
in that most solemn of obligations, the jihad, on the pretext that this 
duty rests not on the individual but on the community in general. 
Some entrust their money contributions to the wrong hands (here he 
alludes to his rivals), others let themselves be won over by the money 
of the infidels to keep the ground clear round their line of forts. 

He prophesies woe to the Achehnese within the linie who have sub- 
mitted to the Gompeuni, so soon as the infidel shall have been driven 
out. All now depends on the chab liniong'^), on the force of the sword. 

Even the ulamas come in for a share of the blame for the slow 

i) See p. 132 above. 
2) See p. 132 above. 

1 87 

progress of affairs. Some of them sit on their prayer-carpets or lose 
their senses over ascetic exercises — alluding to the Teungku's rival 
Habib Samalanga, who is not however mentioned by name. Others 
devote themselves to the repair of mosques far away from the scene 
of the war, and hold great kanduris or religious feasts, squandering 
the money subscribed for the war on purposes for which it was never 
intended. Here he refers to Teungku Tiro. They forget the main issue 
and are partly to blame for the reverses which come upon the country. 
The collection of the sabil monies should be made by concerted arran- 
gement, and a central treasury established (of course with Teungku 
Kutakarang as its administrator) in the neighbourhood of the theatre 
of war. Provision should also be made for attacking by sea the enemy 
whom they could already meet on equal terms on land. 

This short precis of the contents of the pamphlets of Teungku Repose-lov- 
Kutakarang taken in connection with our previous remarks shows that '"S"^"^^- 
even among the ulamas there prevailed a spirit of discord. 

Some there are also among them who in spite of the indignant 
remonstrances of their more ambitious colleagues, hold themselves aloof 
from all this useless bickering and behave as though no jihad existed. 
Such for instance is Teungku Tanoh Mirah, the learned kali of the IV 
Mukims of the VII of the XXVI. And at the time when the Dutch 
still occupied a great portion of Acheh, the example of Cheh Mara- 
haban '), the earlier kali raja and ulama of Teuku Kali showed clearly 
enough that some of them would have been quite willing to change 
sides if they could only have found conclusive arguments strong enough 
to counterbalance the contumely attending such a step. 

Still, in spite of all their dissensions and lack of good guidance, it 
is certain that the ulamas have become more and more the masters 
of the situation. They have succeeded without difficulty in diverting the 
allegiance of the subjects of the uleebalangs, and have acquired more 
influence in their territories than they themselves possess. They con- 
stitute the party of action, the chiefs that of inaction. They stand forth 
in the name of Allah, the chiefs in the name of an adat which, so 
far as it relates to government and the administration of justice, is 
very far from finding favour in the eyes of the people. Disobedience 
to them leads to misery in this world and the next, while the uleebalang 

i) See p. loi above. 

1 88 

has only power to make life unpleasant to the refractory within the 
limits of his own district '). 

Next to the ulamas, chiefs such as Teuku Unia play the most im- 
portant part, but they do not form the soul of the movement of 
resistance. They have other objects in view than the holy war, objects 
which they would if necessary gladly avail themselves of our help to. 
attain. Adat-chiefs have, it is true, occasionally risen superior to their 
inactivity, but this was due to the fact that the ulamas had for years 
taken the lead and they thus feared to find themselves deprived of 
all authority. 

What the Dutch have had opposed to them in Acheh is not a 
Keumala party (such has never existed) nor disconnected bands of 
marauders, but a national pafty, so far as that is possible in Acheh, 
held together and organized by the ulama. 

These ambitious men have the greatest interest in the continuance 
of hostilities. Indeed their material power is based on the jV7^;7-contri- 
butions which the religious law empowers them to levy. These collec- 
tions would abruptly cease if there were no infidels to fight against, 
and their enemy could do these ulamas no greater injury than by a 
complete evacuation of Acheh. The adat-chiefs would then bestir them- 
selves to recover their former position, which would be an easy task 
under the altered circumstances. The ulamas would have to fail back 
upon their studies and their teaching, and only a few of exceptional 
talent and energy would succeed in attaining a measure of authority 
as moral reformers. 
Peace-loving A large portion of the populace would rejoice at being set free from 
the'"^o'ula- ^^^'"^ yoke, for as we have repeatedly observed, their authority is 
tion. based as much on dread as on reverence. 

There are many who desire to pursue in peace their normal occu- 
pations, and especially agriculture, the "prince of all bread-winning", 
without being harassed by sabil-contributions or compelled to serve 
among the reserve of fighting men. There are many too who perceive 
the ambitious motives underlying the activity of the ulamas, even 

l) [After the submission of Teuku L'ma to the Dutch Ciovcinment, Tcungku Kutakaiang 
withdrew to a great extent from public life and died in November 1895. He never came into 
contact with the Government, but in the last years of his life his friends succeeded in making 
the Dutch civil officers believe that this fanatic ulama had been transformed into an ardent 
advocate of acknowledgment of the supremacy of the Gompeuni.] 

1 89 

though they believe in the truth of their preaching. Behind the ulamas 
there stands it is true a national party, but by no means the whole nation. 

In this sense we can justly speak of the Dutch as having friends 
and enemies among the Achehnese. The friends are the great mass 
of those whose interests are largely identical with those of the invading 
power, while the enemies are unappeasable fanatics spurred on by the 
ulamas, whose power can alone be maintained by the continuance of 

It would of course be folly to expect to find real friends among a 
people who in their traditions know the Dutch only as enemies, and 
who find in the present state of affairs no satisfactory reason for casting 
in their lot with them. It is certain however that a great and sub- 
stantial portion of the people of Acheh would rejoice at the complete 
destruction of the party of the ulamas, which now holds in its hands 
the reins of power. And in such an event, these ulamas would in 
accordance with the teaching of their own sacred books be obliged to 
meet their fate with resignation, hard though it might be. 

Indirectly this state of things is rather well illustrated by a heroic The Litest 
poem now very popular in Acheh, celebrating the chief events of the 
war against the Dutch. We shall describe it at length in our chapter 
on literature. 

The poet is a full-blooded Achehnese. He sang of the war with the 
Gompeuni to enliven the evenings and nights of the inhabitants of the 
gampongs by chanting his epic for a fair recompense. It is of course 
not free from abuse of the Dutch ; mockery and insult of every kind 
are heaped upon them, while the heroic deeds of the Achehnese are 
extolled beyond measure. 

What is most striking is the fairly objective tone pervading the 
poem, which is fashioned according to the more ancient models. The 
animation at the capital after the e.xpeditions of the Dutch troops 
through the XXII Mukims and the influx of Achehnese eager for a 
share of the profits are described almost as sympathetically as the 
deeds of the heroes and martyrs of Acheh. There is decided humour 
in the description of a great kanduri (religious feast) given by Teungku 
Tiro, where the assembled guests were chased away b)- the bullets of 
the Dutch soldiers at the very moment when the preparations for the 
repast were completed. The fanatical elements in the poem may be 
fairly attributed to the force of custom. Those who take pleasure in 



listening to the recital of such poems are not intractable, but arc 
subject to the control of a party more powerful than all the conser- 
vative elements of their society taken together. 

Appendix to chapter I. 

Translation of the letters patent witii the ninefold seal granted 

by the Pretender to the Sultanate to the Panglima Meuseugit Raya. 

(See pp. 129 seqq. above). 

At the top of the document stands in the middle the latest chab 
sikureii'eng, an engraving of which has been given above. 

It consists as we have seen (p. 129 seqq.) of one large circle sur- 
rounded by eight smaller ones. The large circle contains the following 

"May Allah give good guidance unto His Majesty Sultan ^Alau'ddln 
(pronounced in Ach. Alaedin) Muhamad Daud Shah Juhan (pronounced 
in Ach. Mnhamat Dazvot Shah Juhan) the Blessed, the shadow of 
Allah in the world 1296" (i. e. 1879, the year of his election us Sultan). 

In the smaller circles surrounding this appear the names of the 
following Sultans. 

Sultan Sayyidi al-Mukamtnal (pron. in Ach. Sidi Meukamay) i. e. 
Alaedin al Qahhar (Kha) who reigned from 1530 to 1552 or 1557 or 
thereabouts '). 

Sultan Meukuta Alain i. e. Iskandar Muda 1607 — 2,6. 

Sultan Tajul-alain i. e. Sapiatodln, the first sultana, 1639 or 1641 — 1675. 

Sultan Ahinat Shall, the first prince of the present dynasty 1723 or 

Sultan Juhan Shah 1735 — 60. 

Sultan Malmut Shah 1781 — 1795. 

Sultan Jauliar Alain Shah 1802 — 24. 

Sultan Mansur {Manso) Shah 1838 — 70. 

The first four of these names recur on most of the nine-fold seals 

l) For our present purpose chronological details of the reigns of the Achehnese kings 
are of minor importance. We shall merely observe that the list of these dates is very 
variously given in the different native authorities. Thus some have it that Sidi Meukamay 
reigned from 1540 to 1570 A. D. 


of the Sultans. They are those of the rulers to whom the former pros- 
perity of Acheh and her adat-institutions are generally ascribed. 

The others vary according to the taste of each of the sultans, who 
decide for themselves the contents of their seals '). 

To the right of the nine-fold chab is to be seen the small oblong 
private seal of the sultan. This is regarded as more or less establishing 
the legality of the large seal, and bears the words as-Sultau Miihamat 
Dawot Shall. 

In the left hand top corner of the document is written al-mustahiqq 
(pron. in Ach al-mbseutaha) the "rightful possessor" by which expres- 
sion Tuanku Muhamat Dawot makes known his claims to the throne 
of Acheh. 

Less weighty documents which are not considered worthy of the 
ninefold seal exhibit in its place a single seal of the sultan, an engraving 
of which has also been given. Round its border run the words "Allah" 
and "His word is the truth and to him belongeth dominion". In the 
centre appears "This is His Majesty Sultan Alaedin Muhamat Dawot 
Shah Juhan, the Blessed, Allah's shadow in the world". 

This seal is also ratified by the addition of the small oblong one. 
It is used for example in the letters of recommendation given by the 
Sultan to his messengers, to foreign traders etc. 

The letters patent given to the Panglima Meusigit Raya are com- 
posed in a mixture of Malay and bad Arabic, of which the following 
is a translation : 

"In the year of the Hijrah of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and 
grant him peace !) one thousand three hundred and seven, on the 
4'h day of the month Rabi"^ al-Awwal, being Monday ^), with the help 
of Allah the omniscient King, and with the blessing of the Prophet, the 
Lord of Men, and of his four companions, which be Abu Bahr, Omar, 
Uthman and Ali (may they be pleasing unto Allah !) and with the 
blessing of the glorious Pole of the world and the brilliant frame work 
of the skies, the immutable knower, the true Beloved ') the lord Shaik 
Abdul-Qadir Jllaiil *), and with the blessing of all the devout Walls 

1) Compare also J. A. Kniijt's Aljch en dc Atjehcrs p. 58. 

2) 28th October 1889. 

3) Here and ia other similar Acliehncse documents (^^-^^^ stands in place of , (^J*ft^*. 

4) As regards the reverence paid to this teacher, who founded the order of Qadir iyyah, 
see p. 165. 


of Goil from tlic Eastern to the Western portions of the Earth, and 
with the blessing of the miraculous power of all the sultans and 
with the blessing of the mediation ') of his late Alajesty Meukuta 
Alam Iskandar (Eseukanda) Muda, and with the blessing of the mediation 
of Her late Majesty Tajul-alam Sapiatodin, and with the blessing of the 
mediation of His late Majesty Alaedin Ahmat Shah, and with the blessing 
of the mediation of His late Majesty Sultan Alaedin Mahmut Shah, and 
with the blessing of the mediation of His late Majesty Alaedin Muhamat 
Shah ^), and with the blessing of the mediation of His late Majesty 
Sultan Alaedin Jauhar al-Alam Shah, and with the blessing of His late 
Majesty Alaedin Manso Shah, on all of whom God have Mercy, Amen ! 

If it be the will of Allah the Exalted, with the blessing of the 
miraculous power of him who (now) possesses greatness, dominion, 
justice and excellence, along with the highest and most distinguished 
rank, him who is favoured by the Lord whose name is 'your Highest 
Lord'''); to wit, our lord and master His Majesty Sultan Alaedin 
Muhamat Dawot Shah, son of the late Sultan Alaedin Manso Shah 
Juhan, the Blessed, Allah's shadow in the world; while His Highness 
sat upon the throne in Kuta Keumala, His exalted Majesty, the 
Prince of the world spoke unto the Keureukon Katiboy Muluk (or 
Mulut ■*), bidding him draw up a document with the thunder-seal "'), to 
be vouchsafed unto Our uleebalang, who is called the Panglinia of 
the Meuscugit Raya of Banda Acheh, the Seat of Peace. 

We make known hereby unto all uleebalangs, unto the wakis, tandils °), 
imeums, katibs, bileues and all subjects: 

:) The Arabic afwah^ properly = "mouths", is used in Achehnese to signify the media- 
tion or beneficent help of some illustrious personages, to which good fortune is often 
politely attributed in conversation. 

2) It is noticeable that the blessing is invoked of the identical sultans whose names appear 
in the chal sikiireti'eng. The only additional one is this Muhamat (1824 — 38). As a rule, only 
three or four of the names contained in the seals are repeated in documents such as these. 

3) Quran 79 verse 24. 

4) As to this imaginary private secretary see above pp. 124 — 5. 

5) Chap /lolilintar, as the nine fold seal is officially called in Malay. 

6) The oflSce of tatidil^ like so many others, has disappeared from Acheh and its very 
meaning is now lost; yet it still subsists as an hereditary title of certain chiefs in the 
highland districts of the West Coast. (This word, the Tamil "-tandal" is in common use 
throughout the Malay Peninsula and Straits Settlements in the sense of the headinan of a 
gang of coolies or of the crew of a boat. The original meaning according to Winslow is a 
collector of moneys, a "bill-collector", but it was also used for the captain of a cargo-boat, 
in which sense no doubt it first found its way to the Eastern Archipelago. ( Translator). 


With regard to this our Paiiglima, whose ancestors of old, even to 
his father, have been even down to our own times panglimas of the 
Meuseugit Raya, we hereby appoint him to be PangHma Meuseugit 
Raya, to fulfil all the duties that appertain to that office, and to 
follow in all his dealings the word of Allah (be He praised and glorified !) 
by commanding the good and forbidding the evil to all chiefs who 
are subject to his official orders. So is it the bounden duty of all 
these chiefs to hear and follow his command and prohibitions, in so 
far as they be in accordance with the law of our prophet Mohammad 
(may Allah bless him and grant him peace !), the law of the adat and 
the sacred institutions, even as these held good in the days of the 
earlier sultans; -on the way of righteousness, so that no injustice may 
befall the servants of Allah. 

Let orders be given henceforth duly to perform the Friday service 
and the five daily prayers, to build meuseugits, deahs and meunasahs, 
also to contribute zakat and pitrah on all things that be subject thereto, 
and where any is able, to accomplish the journey to Mekka to under- 
take the haj. 

Moreover we make it known by this writing, that we have made 
him our deputy for all matters of pasali (divorce by judicial decree), 
marriage and the payment of pitrah for orphans, in respect of all our 
subjects who are within his jurisdiction. Thus let all who are in straits 
because they have no marriage-walis or who are desirous of obtaining 
separation resort to him that he may enquire into their case. 

Should the Panglima Meuseugit Raya himself be insufficiently ac- 
quainted with the laws respecting marriage, pasah and the pitrah for 
orphans, he may appoint some upright ulama as his deputy, so as to 
ensure that all be done in accordance with the law of Mohammad. 

But should this Panglima Meuseugit Raya fail to act conformably 
with the word of Allah, the law of Mohammad and Our institutions, 
then shall he forfeit his high office '). 

Here endeth well our word. Amen!" 

l) The whole content of this document, and especially this last clause, fovm an absurd 
contrast to the actual state of afVairs in Acheh, and show the composition of the earlier 
models on which these letters patent are based to have been the work of ulamas. (See 
pp. 7 — 8 above). 






Arabic and 
names of 

§ I. The Achehno-Mohammedan Divisions of Time. 

The calendar of religious festivals is the same among the Achehnese 
as with the Malays and other Mohammedans; they adopt the lunar 
year of 354 days as a basis. They employ this same year with its 
lunar months as a measurement of time for all the ordinary purposes 
of life. Some of the names, however, which they give to the months 
differ from the Arabic and are borrowed rather from customary obser- 
vances belonging peculiarly to those months. Many of them are also 
called by the Arabic names pronounced in the Achehnese fashion; 
these are universally understood by the well-educated. We shall begin 
by giving a concise list of these names with explanatory notes. 


I. Muharram. 

2. Safar. 

3. Rabtal-aiinval. 

4. Rabfal-akhir. 


Asan-Usen (called after the commemoration of 
Hasan and Husain on the lo'h day of this 


Mo lot (from Maulud, the feast of the birth of 
Mohammad. Less commonly called Rabioy 

Adbe mo lot (i. e. the younger brother of Mo'lot, 
since the Tbirth of the Prophet is commemo- 
rated in this month also. Less commonly 
called Rabioy AkJie). 



5. Jumdda 'l-aivival. Mo lot Seimeulheueli (i. e. final M6'-Iot, for this 

month also is specially dedicated to the com- 
memoration of Mohammad's birth. Women, 
who adhere conservatively to all that is old- 
fashioned in Acheh, also call this month 
Madika phdii i. e. "the first free one"; I 
cannot trace the origin of this name. Less 
commonly called Jamado-away). 
Kandiiri boh kayev (i. e. "kanduri or religious 
offering of fruits". Old-fashioned women speak 
of it as Madika Seiiiieulheueh i. e. "the last free 
one". Less commonly called Jainado Akhe). 
Kanduri Apam (i. e. "kanduri of apam-cakes" ; 

also Rajab or Rd'jab). 
Kanduri Bu (i. e. "kanduri of rice"; also Cha'ban 

or Sdban). 
Pnasa (fast) or Kainalaii or Ramiilan, 
Urb'e Raya (feasting month) or Chazvay. 
Meuapet ("pinched, shut in" cf. apit or hapit 

in Mai. Jav. and Sund.) or Doy Ka'idaJi. 
Haji or Doy Hijali. 
The days of the week bear the Arabic names, which in Achehnese 
are pronounced as follows : 

Aleuhat Sunday 
Seunanyan Monday 
Seidasa Tuesday 
Rabii Wednesday 

Hameh Thursday 

JeuntCH all Friday. 
Sabtii Saturday. 

According to the Shafi'ite school of Mohammedan law, the dates of 
the religious festivals should not be established by calculation, but the 
commencement of each month must be fixed by observation of the new 
moon. If for example the month preceding the fasting month should 
according to the reckoning number 29 days, still the following day 
must not be regarded as the beginning of the fast, unless it is proved 
by witnesses in the manner prescribed by the law, that the new 

6. Juniadd l-akhir . 

7. Rajab. 

8. Sha'^ban. 

9. Ramadlidn. 

10. Sliaiuiual. 

11. Du'l-qa'^dah. 

12. Du'l-hidjah. 

Days of the 

The beginn- 
ing of the 


moon has been actually seen on the evening following the 29tl> day. 
If this observation of the moon (ruya) is not established by proof, 
the month must in spite of astronomy be regarded as a full one of 
thirty days. 

Although all the Mohammedans of the Archipelago arc Shafi'ites, 
the doctrine of the ruya is far from being universally observed. In 
many districts calculation [hisdb] is adhered to, though according to 
the teaching of that school it should only be employed for the in- 
different affairs of daily life. It is only lately ') under the influence of 
Mecca and Hadramaut that the ruya has been more universally accepted. 

In Acheh the "calculation" was the method followed from the 
earliest times. The ulamas overcame the difficulty of a conflicting 
doctrine in the books of the law by the consideration that in these 
parts the atmosphere is only occasionally clear enough to allow of the 
new moon being seen on the first day of her appearance. 

In the edicts of the sultans we meet with a regulation ^) directing 
that the commencement of the fasting month in each year should be 
fixed by a council of the learned held on the last Friday of the pre- 
ceding month. The date was then made known to the people by the 
firing of guns on the previous day. This was quite inadmissible according 
to the ruya doctrine. 

There are in Acheh a few ulamas who are acquainted with some of 
the principles of Arabic astronony (that of the middle ages), which 
they use as the basis of their calculations. But as a rule reference is 
only made to certain tables given in Malay books, without any regard 
to the way in which these tables were arrived at, or the necessity for 
correction of the errors in reckoning to which they give rise after 
some lapse of time. 
Method of A brief description of the nature of these tables will here suffice ^). 

the calendar. 

1) Long since in Yogya and Batavia according to Dr. A. B. Cohen Stu.irt, in the 
Government Almanac for 1868, p. 15; Tijdschrift v. h. Batav. Gcnootschapvo\. XX p. 1 98. 
(The rii'ya is universally adopted among the Malays of the Straits Settlements. Translator'). 

2) See Van Langen's Atjehsch Slaatsbcstuiir.^ p. 456 seq. 

3) As to the eight-year cycle of the Javanese see Dr. A. B. Cohen Stuart's remarks in 
the Government Almanac for 1868 pp. 12 et seq. It has this in common with the Acheh- 
nese calendar that its year alip if divided by 8 leaves a remainder of 3. The year letters 
on the other hand, are different; the Achehnese correspond with those which are to be 
found in some Arabic handbooks, which Newbold cursorily refers to as in us6 among the 
Malays (British Settlements in the Straits of Malacca, II p. 336), and which Dr. Cohen 


The years are first divided into groups of eight, and each of these 
eight years has its proper Arabic letter {liarah thon) ; the numerical 
value of this letter is the cypher of that year. As the order of sequence 
of the 8 year-letters is invariable, we need only know the letter of 
the preceeding, to arrive at that of the current year; and even without 
this the letter may be calculated from the year of the Hijrah. 

The twelve months have each their letter in like manner, and the 
numerical value of that letter is the cypher of its month. If we add 
the cypher of a given year to that of a certain month, the sum of 
the two gives us the clue to the day of the week which is the first 
day of that month in the year in question. 

To apply this clue, we start with the day of the week with which 
the cycle or series of years begins. Now as this day recedes one place 
in every 120 years according to a necessary adjustment in the system, 
there are seven different ways of counting, called after the days of 
the week which respectively begin the cycles, Ahadiyyah, Ithnainiyyah, 
Ihalathiyyah, Arba^iyyah, Khamsiyyah, Jum^iyyah, Sabtiyyah. The cycles 
beginning with Wednesday or Thursday are now usually employed in 
different parts of the Archipelago. 

In Acheh the Arba^iyyah (Wednesday) method is that most in use. 

The cycle of 8 years is as follows : 

1. Aleh (I) numerical value i. 

2. He (5) , , 5- 
3- Jim- (^) . fl 3- 

4. Zoe (y „ „ 7. 

5. Day away (S) „ , 4- 

6. Ba (v_,) „ „ 2. 
7- Wee (j) „ , 5- 
8. Day akhe {^) „ „ 4. 

The calculation for finding the letter of a Hijrah year consists in 
dividing the number representing the year by & and counting off the 
year-letters in the above order, beginning with Wee, to the number of 
the remainder. Thus the year 1309 divided by 8 leaves 5; counting 

Stuart met with in a Sumatran almanac {Tijdschrifl v. h. Batav. Genootschap XX p. 209). 
But none of the Calendars given in the last mentioned article entirely agrees with the 
Malay-.^chehnese calendars. Such an agreement may be presumed to be probable in the 
case of that mentioned by Newbold, for the Achehnese derive their Malay lore principally 
from the Straits. Newbold, however, gives no particular whence this might be decided. 


from Wcii 5 places onwards, we reach Jim; Jim is thus the letter of 
that year. To fix the year-letters on the memory they are formed into 
a single word with the help of vowels, thus ahjizdabuda (i>^i>1s\JdI). 
The sequence of the month-letters is as follows: 


) =7- 


(_,^^ 2. 


(j = 2. 




» =5- 


8 =5- 





, =6. 

1 1. 

1 =1. 


f = I. 


^ = 3- 

To find the first day of the fasting month in the year 1309 we 
add the cypher of the year (3) to that of the fasting month, i. e. the 
9A of the year, which cypher is 5. This gives 8, and we now count 
off 8 weekdays beginning from Wednesday, which gives us Wednesday 
as the first day of the fasting month. 

The month-cyphers are also formed into a word to assist the memory, 
thus zabjih waabdih za'ajen ( — ('isjkjf; &;?40' 

In the cycle of eight years, as may be easily calculated, the 2a<l, 
5t'i and 7111 years have an additional intercalary day (355 in all). The 
odd months have thirty and the even twenty-nine days, but in the 
intercalary years the 12th month has also 30 days. In each year there 
is an excess of one 120th of a day, but I have not been able to dis- 
cover whether the Achehnese would correct this at the end of every 
120 years by skipping a day. 
Tch-books. Malay handbooks are also used for these calculations. These contain 
tables with all the requisite data, and an explanatory text to facilitate 
their use. Amateurs of science are in the habit of collecting one or 
more such treatises in a single volume along with sundry other data 
for fixing lucky days, months and hours, the good fortune that may 
be expected to attend a proposed marriage, and the like. To these are 
sometimes added theological treatises, and the whole forms what in 
Java is called a prinibon or pariritnbon, and at Batavia is known as a tip 
{^io) or japar side' (from Ja'far Qadiq, the reputed author of many 
astrological tables). The name in Acheh is teh, a corruption of the same 
Arabic word which is pronounced as tip by the Batavians. Its original 
Division of meaning is "medical art". 

the day of 24 

hours. Before proceeding to review the twelve months of the Mohammedan 


year in order to sketch in detail the principal feasts and general 
customs of a religious nature observed by the Achehnese, let us notice 
some peculiarities of their division of the day of 24 hours. 

In ancient legends and in proverbs we occasionally meet with allu- 
sions to a division of the day and night into hours or periods, which 
is generally understood, but has now lost all practical significance. The 
day and night (separated from one another by sunset and sunrise) 
were divided into four equal parts, each of about 3 hours duration. 
Such a division is called in Arabic 5rtw, and the Mohammedans of the 
Archipelago have adopted it, name and all {jam '), jeii'cin) from the 
Arabs. Later on the name was applied in Malayan and Javanese coun- 
tries to the hour of 60 minutes. This modification did not take place 
in Acheh where the word maintained its original meaning. 

The notation now most in vogue for the different parts of the day 
and nights corresponds essentially with that which we find, for example, 
in Java. Some of the names are borrowed from the religious subdivision of 
time into a number of waqtus (Ach. zaatee ov wate'e), the periods allotted to 
the obligatory prayers. Others are based on daily occupations, meals, 
etc. The principal divisions, commencing from the morning, are as follows: 
Ban bcukaJi iiiata urbe ("with the breaking forth 

of the sun") about 6 A. M. 

Sigalah itrbc') ("the sun a pole high" referring 

to the poles used in propelling craft) ... „ 7 to 7.30 „ 
/I'rt/tv or wrtV«''^« ("rice-time", i.e. "meal-time") „ 9 n 

Plbili meuneii'u'e ("the loosening of the ploughing 

gear" i. e. the time at which the plougher, 

who has broken his fast early in the morning, 

goes with his buffaloes to seek repose . . „ 10 „ 

Peiinab chbt^) ("the approaching of the zenith" 

i. c. by the sun) „ II „ 

Chbt (^zenith") „ 12 NOON 

Renbah chbt ("falling from the zenith") or leuho 

(Ach. pronunciation of the Arabic ::Hhr = 

midday) „ 12.30 V. M. 

1) yam is used by the Malays not only to denote the hour of 60 minutes, but also as 
the common expression for a watch or clock. (^Translalor\ 

2) I'/of means not only "day" but also "sun". 

3) In this and the two following expressions uroi = "the sun" is understood. CAi'i iiroi 
is also said. 


Peuteungalian leuho ("the middle ()f the period 

devoted to the obligatory noonday prayers") about 1.30 — 2 P. M. 

Akhe leuho (the last part of the above period) „ 3 » 

Asa ("the beginning of the time of the '^asr or 

afternoon prayers") , 3.30 „ 

/"^z^/^MM^rt/w;/ r?jrrt (the middle of the above period) „ 4.30 — 5 „ 

Akhl- asa (the last part of that period) ... „ 5.30 „ 

Mugreb ') ("sunset") „ 6 „ 

'^iclia ("evening" — especially referring to the time 

of the commencement of the evening prayer. 

Arab, '^ishci) „ 7.30 „ 

Teungbh nialam ("midnight") ..:....„ 12 „ 

Suloih yang akJic ("the last third of the night"; 

Arab, tliiilth) , 1.30 — 4.30 a. m. 

Kuku'e^ iiianu siscun ("the single crowing of the 

cock") , . . „ 3 

Kuku'e viano rami (the continuous crowing of 

the cocks") „ 4 — 4.30 „ 

Mureli ("the streaks of dawn" on the horizon) 

or suboh (from Arab, subh = morning) ox paja 

(from Arab, fajr = early dawn) close on 5 „ \ 

1) Sunset is with tlie Achehnese, as with all other Mohammedans, the commencement of 
the day of 24 hours, so that the night belongs to the day that follows it, and not as with 
us to that which precedes it. 

2) The Malays use ?naghiili^ ^isha^ stthh^ lohor (ziilir^ very much as they are used by the 
Achehnese. Their common phrases for the divisions of time however, though resembling 
those in the text in so far as they are partly drawn from natural phenomena are not by any 
means all identical with them. The following list is taken from the appendix to Maxwell's 
manual of the Malay language p. 139, and forms an interesting comparison with that given above. 

1. Belum ierhang lalat "before the flies are astir", just before daybreak. 

2. Pechah panas^ "when the heat commences", sun-up. 

3. K'ering ambtin "when the dew dries" about 8 A. M. 

4. Tengah naik "when the sun is half way up" 9 A. M. 

5. Tulih tcnggala "when the plough is idle" (this resembles ploih msuncti' tie). 

6. Tengah hart tSpat "midday exactly", noon. 

7. Rambang "Right in the middle" (i. e. the sun in the sky), noon. 

8. Bimtar niembayang^ "when the shadows are round (i. e. when your shadow is round 
your feet; noon). 

9. Bcralis hari "when the day changes", afternoon. 

10. Lepas ba'ada^ and /cfas ha^ada salah^\ after (Friday's) prayers (in the mosque), 
about 1.30 P. M. 

11. Turiiii kerhan bcrendam^ "when the buffaloes go down to water", about 3 P. M. 

12. Jindcra budak^ "when the children have gone to sleep, about 10 v. u. (T/a/is/ii(ai). 


The popular measures of time are also similar to those employed by Other mea- 
sures and 
the Malays, Javanese etc. limits of time. 

Sikleb mata, a moment (a blink of the eyes). 

Cheli ranub sigapu, the time required for chewing a quid of sirih, 

about 5 minutes. 
lilasa bn sikay breit'eli the time required for cooking a kay (cocoanut 

shell-full) of rice, about half an hour. 
Masa' bit sigantang ') breii'eh, the time required for cooking a gantang 

of rice, about an hour and a half. 
Masa bu sinaleli breu'eli, the time required for cooking a naleh of rice, 

about 3 hours. 
Siklian urbe, half a day, about 6 hours. 
Si urbe seupot, lit. = "a sun dark", a whole day -). 

To distinguish ''to-day" [urbe nybe) from the days which precede and 
follow it, the following expressions are in use "). 
Beiikla>n, the previous evening, which according to the Achehnese 

conception is the evening of the present day ; it thus answers to our 

"yesterday evening". 
Barb'e, yesterday (daytime only). 
Barb'e sa, the day before yesterday, lit. 'yesterday one". 

1) A gantang is now do longer used as a measure of capacity in Acheh; where a^a«/a«^ 
is spoken of 2 are is meant. 

The measures of capacity are as follows: 

Ni'i or ndie = i blakay 

Blakay (from blah kay., a division of a kay) = ', kay 

Kay (orig. meaning cocoanut shell) = \ chiipa' 

Chupa' (containing unhusked rice to the weight of 24 Spanish dollars) = \ are 

Are (called "a bamboo" in Malay) = ^'i,"" naleh 

Naleh = ,',,''' kuncha 

Guncha = i'^"" kuyan 

The ndie is seldom mentioned except in conjunction with si = I, as sindie (or sundie"). 

Half a ndie is sometimes spoken of as fill. 

(The common Malay measures used in the Straits Settlements are the chttpak., 4 of 

which = I gantang (about 1 1^ gallons); l6 gantang— I naleh: lo nalehs — i kuncha\ 5 

kunchas = I koyan. Translator). 

2) There are equivalent expressions in Malay; so' buntar (lit. a little round thing), sa 
kejap (a blink of the eyes) and sa'at (Arabic) are also used to denote a momentary period 
of time, and the expression slmpat makan roko^ sa-batang., the time required for smoking a 
cigarette, is also in common use. (^Translator'). 

3) In Malay sa^ malam = yesterday ; kelmarin ("the preceding day") is used sometimes 
for yesterday and sometimes for the day before ; and kelmarin dahulu = the day before that 
again, 3 days since. Esok or besok = to-morrow, Itisa the day after to morrow, and tiilat 
3 days hence. (Translator). 


Barb'e sa jeh, the day before that again (Ht. "yesterday one more on 

that side"). 
Singoh, to-morrow. 
Lusa, the day after to-morrow. 
Liisa raya, the day after that again. 

To denote the day of the montii, in answer to the ciuestion "how 
many days moon?" {paduin itrbi; buleiien) they say "one, two etc. days 
moon", si urbii, dua urb'e etc. buleiien. For the first and thirtieth days 
of the month the reverse order is employed, as {buleiien si' urbc, buleucn 
Ihe'e plnli). The first of next month is denoted by the expression (when) 
tlic moon (is) visible (buleiien leumah) and the subsequent days of that 
month by "two, three etc. days visible moon (dua, lliee c\.c. urb'e buleu'en 
leumah). Last month is called "a moon before", or a moon which is 
past" e. g. the fourth of last month, peiiet urbii buleiien dile'e or buleu'en 
nyang ka abeli '). 

§ 2. Achehno-Mohammedan Feasts and appointed 
Times and Seasons. 

We now enter upon our review of the Achehno-Mohammedan year 
and its appointed times and seasons. 
Achura. I. Asan-Usen[= Muharram). In the books of Mohammedan law it is 

set down as sunat (that is, a meritorious though not obligatory work) 
to fast on the lot'i day of this month. None but very devout persons 
observe this custom, so that this day, which is named Ashura (in Acheh 
Achura and in Java Sura) passes almost unnoticed as far as concerns 
its celebration. 

In Shi"ite countries it is quite the reverse. There the first ten days 
of this month are devoted to all manner of ceremonies, processions, 
discourses and theatrical representations, purporting to commemorate the 
conflict between Mohammad's grandson Husain and the Umayyads. 
These festivities culminate in the Ashura, on which day he perished 

l) The Malays have just the same expressions, except that they make no difference for 
the first and thirtieth days. "Next month" in Malay is bulan timdul, "last month" bulan 
dhiilu or bulan yang stidah. We find a close resemblance to the Achehnese in the expres- 
sion for the fourth of last month which in Malay is ampat hari bulan dhulu Qxbitlanyang 

habis (or sudaJi^. ( Translator'), 


on the plains of Kerbela, yet even on this a number of ceremonies 
follow, extending over the next three days and consecrated to the 
memory of his burial etc. 

The dances and bonfires, the dikrs ') with their mourning for the 
martyrs' fate, a grief which though artificially excited expresses itself 
in wild frenzies where the mourners gash their own bodies with knives; 
the theatrical representations, sometimes confounded with reality by 
the crowds of spectators, so that the actor who takes the part of the 
murderer of Husain becomes exposed to actual violence; the mad 
processions, particularly common in Hindustan, and which remind one 
more of a fair or carnival than of a funeral pageant ; all this specially 
belongs to Persia and the Shi'ite portions of British India, and need 
not occupy our attention here. 

It is however worthy of remark that even Mohammedan peoples who 
follow the orthodox ritual, but whose life and thought have been sub- 
jected to Shi'ite influences celebrate feasts of the above description. 
They recognize no impropriety in so doing, though their teachers refrain 
from all participation in these ceremonies, which are to a considerable 
extent of pagan origin. 

A very noteworthy and full description of such festivals is to be 
found in the Qanoon-e-islam of Jaffur Shurreef (pronounced ya/«r 5/w^//") 
translated into English by G. A. Herklots, (2nd ed. Madras 1863 pp. 
98 — 149)- It has especial interest for us, because the work of this writer 
relates to a non Shi'ite people, the inhabitants of the coastlands of 
the Southern part of British India, whence the creed of Islam would 
appear to have made its first advances towards the Eastern Archipelago. 

The Mohammedans of the Deccan, whose manners arc portrayed in 
this work, are Shafi'ites just like those of the Malay Archipelago, but 
their national ideas and customs have arisen to a great extent under 
strong Shi'ite influences. As is clear from a comparison of Jafiur 
Shurreef's book with what we actually find in Netherlands-India, these 
adventitious additions to their creed were adopted by the Malay and 
Javanese converts with just as much readiness as the fundamental 
truths of the Shafi'ite law or of the teaching universally accepted as 

To attain the certainty that we might desire on these points a more 

l) A sort of religious recitations, 


detailed comparative enquiry would be requisite. But it is clear beyond 
all doubt that the Deccan form of Mohammedanism exercised an in- 
fluence on that of the Indonesians superior in force to that of any 
other agency. This may at once be gathered from the character of the 
popular religious literature, even were there no other proof. Whence 
come the stories which are such favourites in the Eastern Archipelago 
of the Titanic wars and numerous love adventures of Amir Hamzah 
(the uncle of Mohammad), the romantic adventures of Mohammad 
(ibnu'l) Hanafiyyah (the son of Ali), of the hero Sam'un, Raja Badar 
and many more, all in conflict both with the history and the legendary 
tradition of the Arabs? It is more particularly in British India that 
works of this sort are to be met with, nor is it possible that they 
should have been disseminated to such an extent in any country closer 
to Arabia. 

The absurd tales related of Husain and his companions, the martyrs 
of Kerbela, are also of the same character as those current in India. 
There too (and consequently in the Archipelago as well), Hasan, innocent 
as he was of all martyrdom, has been enrolled in this band of saints, 
and the Ashura-festival bears the names of both brothers. 

In different parts of Netherlands-India and especially on the West 
Coast of Sumatra (Padang, Bencoolen ') etc.) the Hasan-Husain festival 
is celebrated on a smaller scale, but in much the same manner as we 
find it described in the Qanoon-e-islam. It has been thought that it 
was introduced along the sea-board by the sipaliis (sepoys) who immi- 
grated thither during the English domination. It is indeed quite possible 
that these natives of Hindustan may have had an influence on the 
manner of its observance. It is however propable, to say the least, 
that even previously to this a Hasan-Husain feast enjoyed much 
popularity both in Sumatra and elsewhere. Indeed how else can we 
account for the fact that it is celebrated to this day in Trumon in 
the manner customary in the Deccan, that in Achch the month is 
called Asan-Usen, and that the day Ashura, of which orthodox Islam 
takes but but little notice, has in Java given its name Sura to the month 

In order to arrive at a more definite conclusion we should require 

l) As to this see '^ IntcinalionaUs Archiv fi'ir Ethnographic'^ (Ed. I. D. E. Schmeltz) 
Leiden 1888, Part I, pp. 191 — 196. 


more complete data with regard to the spread of the observance and 
of the legendary traditions attached to it. 

A later wave of orthodoxy, however, proceeding especially from 
Mecca, has purified the Islam of the East Indies of sundry heresies, 
and among them of the Hasan-Husain feasts. The noisy celebration of 
these festivals, which may now be witnessed year by year at Kuta Raja, 
are for the most part got up by the Padang people who have settled 
there. Some Klings and Hindus ') take part in them, but the Acheh- 
nese merely act as spectators. Wherever in Acheh or its dependencies 
many Klings or other Indian Mohammedons had settled, tahiit -) pro- 
cessions always took place ; but the participation of the native people 
in these is undoubtedly a phenomenon of the later growth. 

A further custom, which is really no more than an insignificant 
adjunct of the Hasan-Husain festivals, but which exists elsewhere as 
an independent usage, is the cooking of special viands on the Ashura day. 

In Hindustan the chosen dish seems to be that known as khichri ') ; 
in Cairo it is called Iiiibub i. e. "seeds" or "grains" ■*), In Java the 
bubur sura as it is called, also consists of various grains or seeds such 
as jagong or maize, peas etc., mixed with pieces of cocoanut and placed 
on top of the rice. A similar custom is that of dedicating particular 
dishes on various occasions to particular prophets or saints to the 
spirits of the departed in general. 

In Acheh this dish of porridge is called kanji ") Achitra and consists 
of rice, cocoanut milk, sugar and pieces of cocoanut, mixed with 
various fruits cut into small pieces such as papayas (boJi peute), peas 
[reuteu'f), pomegranates {boh glivta), plantains, sugarcane and various 
edible roots. 

The kanji Ashura is not cooked in every separate house ; one or 
two large pots full suffice for a whole gampong. Those who undertake 
the cooking receive voluntary subscriptions from their fellow-villagers. 

1) According to the Qanoon-e-islam^ pp. 122, 142, Hindus in British India also take a 
considerable part in the Hasan-Husain feasts, pay vows to the holy relics paraded round 
on these occasions, etc. 

2) The symbolical coffin of the martyrs of Kerbela, which is carried about in the 
Muharram processions along with other symbolical objects such as figures of hands, 
banners etc. 

3) Qanoon-e-Islam^ p. 144; also see the Faith of Islam by E. Sell, London iSSo, p. 242. 

4) Lane, Manners and customs of the Modern Egyptians^ 5 th edn. II, p. 149. 

5) Kanji is exactly the same as the Javanese btibnr^ and means pottage or porridge. 



The mess is brought to the mcunasah or sometimes to the junction 
of the gampong-path with the main road. All who wish fall to and 
gormandize, generally to such an extent as to cause indigestion. The 
blessing of the bubur by a prayer, though common in Java, is not 
customary in Aciiuh. In neither country is the feast strictly limited to 
the lo'li of the month, but often extends some days beyond. 
Unlucky A further survival of the old commemoration of Hasan and Husain 
is to be found in the fact that the first ten days of the month which 
bears their name are regarded as unlucky. On them no work of im- 
portance is begun, no marriage with a virgin ') consummated (for that 
would mean speedy separation or the death of one of the pair), no 
child circumcised, no rice sown or planted out. 

The name "fire-month" (bulcucn apuy) given to the Achura-month 
to account for these adat-rules is peculiarly Achehnese. It may be 
that there lurks here a further allusion to the dances of the Hasan- 
Husain feasters round fires, as practised to this day in Trunion and 
in the Deccan. 
Rabu Abch. 2. Sapha (= Safar) is also a month to be avoided for undertakings 

of weight. 

The reason for this has been stated to be that in this month the 
fatal sickness of Mohammad, to which he succumbed in the third 
month of the year, first began to show itself However that may be, 
the belief is universal in the Mohammedan world that Safar is pregnant 
with evil, and that one may feel very thankful when he reaches the 
last Wednesday of this month without mishap. This day nowhere 
passes wholly without notice. 

In Acheh it is called Rabii Abch ^), "the final Wednesday." Many 
take a bath on this day, the dwellers on the coast in the sea, others 
in the river or at the well. It is considered desirable to use for this 
bath water consecrated by contact with certain verses of the Quran. 
To this end a teungku in the gampong gives to all who ask slips of 
paper on which he has written the seven verses of the Quran in which 
Allah addresses certain men with the word salain ("blessing" or "peace") '). 

1) Rules of pantang (taboo) connected with marriage have hardly any force in regard to 
divorced women or widows. 

2) Malay Rabu pingkabisan^ Jav. Ribo u<i!kasan. 

3) Chap. 36 : 58; 37 : 77, 109, 120, 130: 39 : 73 and 97 : 5. 


These papers are thrown into sea, river or well, and the water is thereby 
believed to be given salutary powers. 

Others drink water from a platter on which these verses are in- 
scribed, the writing being partially dissolved in the water '). 

With this bathing -) are connected other regulations in regard to 
the toilet such as shaving, cutting of nails etc. but the Achehnese do 
not pay much attention to these. 

Those who live near the sea-shore are especially fond of the Rabii 
Abeh picnics. Each brings his contribution {ripF) for the feast, which 
exhibits not the smallest trace of its religious origin. These social 
gatherings are called meuramien. In Java also these picnics generally 
take place in seaside localities. The common people know no more 
than that this "Final Wednesday" is appointed for bathing, drinking 
charmed water and holding social gatherings and do not concern 
themselves at to the traditional origin of the custom. Such is also the 
case in Arabia '). 

Some pious persons perform on the afternoon of the Rabu Abeh a 
special voluntary seianayang consisting of two or more divisions, on 
the ground of a tradition characterized as "weak" by the expounders 
of the law. 

3. Mo lot [Rabi^ al-awwal) is in every Mohammedan country, but Feast of the 
especially in the Eastern Archipelago, a month of feasts. According to hammad. ' 
the now generally accepted tradition the I2i'i of this month was the 
date both of the birth and of the death of the Prophet, and on this 
day many other important occurrences took place during the 63 years 
which separate these two events. 

We know with what brilliancy the birthday of the Apostle of God 
is celebrated in the Javanese courts, and how universal is its public 
observance even in the smallest of Javanese villages. Although this 
festival is not one of the two officially ordained by the law — since, 
as may be supposed, it did not begin to be observed until long after 

1) In Java it is customary to keep a supply of consecrated water (tanyii jimaf) ready 
iu the mosques on R£bo \V6kasan for the crowds of people who demand it. 

2) The bath taken on this occasion is a ritual one {^ghusl\ and is preceded by the 
utterance of the iiiyyat or intention to perform a task prescribed by the law of Allah. 

[.\mong the Malays of Penang and Province Wellesley the Mandi Safar or "bathing of 
Safar" is one of the most popular of festivals. The method of its observance is almost 
identical with that of the Achehnese as here described. (^Translator)']. 

3) .^nd in Malaya. (Translator'). 


Mohammad's death — it is in fact accepted as obligatory, especially 
in the Indian Archipelago, and entirely overshadows the so-called 
"great feast" of the lO'h of the I2th month. 
Observance The Achehnese regard the observance of the McVlot as specially 
Acheh."'^'' '" binding on the people of their country. To account for this they refer 
to a historical legend connected with a certain cannon, which before 
the comingof the Dutch toAcheh formed part of the defences oftheDalam. 

It is well known how common has been the custom amongst native 
peoples of giving proper names to certain cannons, which they regarded 
more or less as personified and even worshipped as sacred after a time. 
We may instance Si Penjagio- at Batavia, and its consorts Si Aiiio/c 
in Banten and Setoini at Surakarta, with many more. 

Similarly in Acheh there were many such guns with proper names, 
among them that mentioned above, which bore the title Lada 
Sichiipa = "a chupa" of pepper" '). The origin of this name, according 
to the popular tradition, was as follows: 
Achehnese In the course of the sixteenth century, when Acheh began to grow 
Tu'rkev^^ ° powerful, one of the Sultans — we know not which — thought that 
the time had come to bring his kingdom to the notice of the lord of 
all believers, the Raja Rom, i. e. the Sultan of Turkey. He caused 
one of his biggest ships to be laden with pepper, the principal product 
of the country, as an offering expressive of homage to the supreme 
lord. Some say that he made the journey himself; according to others 
he sent an embassy of wealthy chiefs. 

At Stambul [Esentaniboy) no one had ever heard of the existence 
of Acheh. So when the ambassadors arrived there, though they found 
it easy enough to get a lodging in return for their money, all their 
eftorts to induce the officials to ask an audience for them of the Sultan 
proved of no avail. Thus they remained there a year or two, and as 
their means soon became exhausted, they had gradually to sell their 
pepper to supply themselves with the necessaries of life. 

In the end, as chance would have it, the Sultan while returning 
one Friday from the mosque to his palace, espied our Achehnese 
among the crowd of respectful spectators. They attracted his attention 
by their peculiar dress, and he enquired whence they came and what 
had brought them to Constantinople. 

l) With regard to this measure see p. 201 above. 


The desired explanation was given, and the Sultan, after venting 
his wrath on the officials whose foolish pride had so long denied this 
embassy admittance to his presence, requested the strangers to come 
that same day to his palace. 

The Achehnese were indeed delighted at having attained their object, 
but at the same time they were ashamed at having no clothing left 
suitable for such a visit, and also because, out of the whole cargo of 
pepper which they had brought with them, only a single chupa 

When admitted to the Sultan's presence, they told him about the 
kingdom of Acheh. They informed him that they had wished to present 
him with a cargo of pepper by way of first tribute, but were compelled 
to turn it into money for their needs, so that they could now only 
offer him a single chupa' as a sample of that product. The Sultan 
accepted the gift most graciously, and requested them to tell him all 
about affairs in Acheh, the distance of that kingdom from Stambul, 
the difficulties of the journey and so forth. 

Finally he ordered a great cannon to be given them as a return Lada 
present, and to this was given the name of Lada Sichupa'. In com- 
pliance with their request he also gave them a number of skilled 
artisans from his kingdom to instruct their fellow-countrymen in various 
arts hitherto unknown to them. 

It is said that a number of these instructors who came from Syria, Teungku di 
settled in a gampong close to the Dalam, and in remembrance of their 
native land gave the village the name of Bitay (Ach. pronunciation of 
Bvtal, an abbreviation of Betal-mak,dis = Jerusalem). In Bitay may still 
be seen the grave of a saint, Teungku di Bitay, who according to the 
tradition belonged to this colony of strangers. 

The Sultan of Turkey also considered it unbefitting to bind his new 
vassal to the regular despatch of embassies or tribute, since the great 
length of the journey presented too many difficulties. "Let the faithful 
observance," said he, "of a religious custom in your country take the 
place of the yearly payments which elsewhere constitute the mark of 
submission to a suzerain. The observance of the feast of Mohammad's 
birth is among the most meritorious of works of devotion. So let there 
be no village in Acheh where the inhabitants do not publicly hold a 
Mo'lot feast ; that shall be your tribute to the lord of the Faithful." 

Such is the explanation given of the fact that this festival has been 



always so strictly observed in Acheh. In former times the headman 
of a gampong who did not make provision in due time for the holding 
of this annual feast was fined by the ulcebalang for neglect of duty. 

Although the I2tl> of this month is accepted as the birthday of the 
prophet and thus as the feast-day par excellence, the commemoration 
of the birth of Mohammad is not confined to this date. Throughout 
the whole Moslem world maitlids (or as they are generally called in 
the Archipelago maidiids) are held on various occasions. These are 
declamations by learned men in verse or rhyming prose dealing with 
events in the life of the Prophet, and concluding with a prayer and a 
feast for those assembled. 

Acheh is no exception to the rule; funeral feasts for example are 
often here enlivened by a Mo lot. But the Mo lot, which the Achehnese 
regard as obligatory, must be held in all gampongs either in the month 
Mo'lot (on or after the I2th day) or in one of the two following months. 
It is from this that the latter derive their names "Younger Brother of 
Mo'lot" and "Final Mo'lot." 

The place where the Mo'lot is celebrated is the incunasah. The day 
is fixed year by year by the headman so as not to clash with the 
pursuits of the villagers. Care is taken at the same time to fix the 
dates so that no two gampongs of the same name shall celebrate the 
Mo'lot on the same day or after too short an interval, because all the 
people of the same mukim are invited to each feast. 

Those who live in other gampongs in the same mukim are the 
guests of the whole gampong and receive a formal invitation through 
a messenger of the keuchi'. 

Such official invitations [murbli] to kanduris or religious festivals are 
always given in the form of an offering, as it is called, of ranub bate 
[ranub or sink in its bate '), a copper or silver bowl lined with an 
ornamental piece of cloth). The bate contains, besides the sirih, only a 
little betelnut, but none of the other requisites for betel-chewing. 
Where the invitation to one of these kanduris is addressed to persons 
of high consideration such as tuankus (royal princes) the symbolical 
gift is presented in a more costly sort of sirih-bowl {kardih) in place 
of the bate. 

The official invitation to the kanduri Mo lot is addressed only to 

l) See p. 42 .ibove. This custom also prevails among the Malays. They call \i mciiyirih. 


the members of the governing body of the gampong, the keuchi', teungku 
and elders, but all the inhabitants are regarded as being included therein. 

"Respectful greetings and good wishes from Teuku Keuchi' of gam- 
pong X and the Teungku ! They desire (or request) that You will come 
and partake of their kanduri on such and such a day." So speaks the 
messenger. They receive from him the sirih and pinang, hand back the 
empty bate, and answer simply: "it is well." 

The viands are provided by all the heads of families. Each of them, 
if his means allow, brings on the appointed day an idang to the meu- 
nasah. The components of such an idang will be found detailed in our 
description of marriage ceremonies. The idang Unto (bridegroom's idang), 
the idang penjamcc (placed before guests at certain visits prescribed by 
adat ') and the idang Mo lot are almost precisely identical. At times 
the competition between the people of the same gampong to outshine 
one another in the costliness of their idangs reaches such a pitch, that 
the village headmen are obliged to fix a certain limit which must not 
be exceeded. 

As meat, which the Atchehnese seldom eat on ordinary occasions, 
is indispensable for the idang Mo'lot, the kanduri is preceded by the 
slaughter of animals. Such general slaughterings take place on no other 
occasions except the last days of the eighth and ninth months and on 
a small scale at the "great" feast of the sacrifices on the lo'h day of 
the twelfth month. 

Care is also taken that the sirih and its appurtenances be not wanting 
after the feast. Piles of sirih-Ieaves are heaped up high on dalongs or 
trays, and between them are placed the betel-nut, gambir, tobacco etc., 
the whole forming what is called the raniib dbng or "standing sirih." 
The sirih is presented in the same form in offering a betrothal gift. 

The cost of a single idang amounts to as much as four dollars, so 
that the less well-to-do families club together, three, four or five at a 
time to provide a single idang. 

Besides those invited by the gampong in general, each individual 
has his private guests, viz. all those of his relatives who live elsewhere 
and feel disposed to partake in the kanduri. These come without 
invitation, as according to the adat they are at liberty to regard the 
kanduri Mo'lot of a member of their family as their own. 

l) See p. 31 above and Chap. Ill § I. 


Where there arc many such guests to entertain, the expenses of the 
feast are vastly augmented for tlicir host, since the adat directs that 
he should furnish for them a complete separate idang in addition to 
his contribution to the general feast. 
Recitation The guests, who are of course all men, assemble in the mcunasah 
of Moham- usually in the forenoon, and always in the daytiine. The Teungku and 
mad s inrtii. ^.j^g leubes appear a little earlier than the others, as they have to recite 
the Mo'lot. This recitation is called mculikc (from dikr) in Acheh. Simi- 
larly the Javanese speak of the dikir maidiit. 

Some of the niaululs most in use have been handsomely lithogra- 
phed at Cairo by Hasan at-Tochi Ahmad and published in a single 
volume along with a number of other formulas used for religious pur- 
poses. This collection enjoys the greatest popularity both at Mekka 
and throughout the whole Indian Archipelago. Two of these inauUds 
are in rhyming prose alternating with songs of praise in verse. One of 
these was composed by a certain Bukharl, ') the other by JaTar-al- 
BarzanjT. One is entirely in verse ; this is also the work of the last- 
named writer. 

All three are also in use in Acheh, that of Hukharl especially at the 
official kanduris. It bears the title of Maiilid shnrafi 'l-anam (Birth of 
the Glory of Mankind) and is called Sarapulanaiii in Java, and Chara- 
pha anani in Acheh. 

The prose pieces are recited by one person, but others of those 
assembled may take a turn to relieve the reader. It is the same with 
the versified portions, the chanting of which in a particular fashion is 
very popular. About the middle of the Charapha anam comes a hymn 
of praise of moderate length which all the experts present raise in chorus. 

These experts, in an Achehnese meunasah, are the Teungku and all 
the leubes. While singing they rise from their places, and in their 
midst is placed a vessel containing incense, the savoury smoke from 
which blends with the chant in honour of the Apostle of God. 

After this hymn of praise the kanduri Mo'lot closes with a long 

prayer which is to be found at the end of the Charapha anam. 

Mo'lot Meantime the people of the gampong have also appeared upon the 

charms. scene, and where there is no room left in the meunasah, have taken 

up their position in a neighbouring bale or in the surrounding houses. 

i) According to the publication of at-Tochi; others assign a different name to the author. 


Whilst the leiibcs stand and chant their hymn, the others crowd around 
and hand them pieces of black thread in which they tie knots while 
continuing to chant. These knotted threads are placed round the necks 
of the children in the firm conviction that they constitute infallible 
charms. ') 

In Java it is customary to make the maulut-recitations the occasion 
for initiating certain homely industries such as knitting the first meshes 
of a fishing-net, commencing the hem of a garment etc., in order that 
the Prophet's blessing may rest upon their task. This is not done in 
Achch; here the fishermen set up their nets [jetie, nyareng or pukat) 
on a Friday, sitting at the entrance of the mosque while the devout 
pass in to take part in the weekly service. 

After the prayer, the people of the gampong and their guests com- 
mence their onslaught on the good cheer that awaits them. The Java- 
nese custom of carrying home the remnants of the feast (under the 
name of f^grX'^/ = "blessing") after a religious festival is not the fashion 
in Acheh -) ; each one takes away what is left of the idang which forms 
his own contribution to the feast. 

Wealthy persons sometimes give separate MtVlot feasts in their own 
homes, but choose another day than that fixed for the kanduri of their 
gampong — generally the i^'h of the month, which is seldom chosen for 
the public celebration. All attend the latter, not excepting the uleeba- 
langs themselves. 

A specially great kanduri Mo lot is held on the actual Mo'lot day 
at the tomb of Teungku Anjong in Gampong Jawa. On this occasion 
one or more buffaloes are slaughtered, and besides those who assemble 
in the deah to partake of the feast, sundry ulamas have a share there- 
in, pieces of meat being sent them by the guardian of the tomb. 

The superstitious belief that no work of importance should be initia- 
ted before the 12* day of Mo'lot is commonly met with in Java, but 
never in Acheh. The whole of this month, as well as its "younger 

1) A very common custom in Java is as follows: when the reciter of the prayer at 
the close of the maulut comes to the words "and grant unto us for the sake of the honour 
in which Thou boldest him (Mohammad), acceptance (of our good works) glory and renown" 
at the word acceptance those present snatch some rice from the dishes which stand prepared 
hard by, and this rice is afterwards employed as a remedy in sicknesses of children etc. 
The knotting of threads as described above also takes place in Java. 

2) In Pidie the guests take to their homes the remnants of the KanJuri Mo'lot^ which 
are called by them ayapan. 


brother" are here regarded as specially favourable for marriage and 
circumcision feasts etc. As regards the succeeding months: 

4. Adoe Mo lot {RabVal-akhir) and 

5. Molot seuneulheiich [Jumdda U-awival), little remains to be noted 
beyond what we have said above. The latter, the fifth month of the 
year is also considered suitable for feasts etc., but enjoys no special 

Before taking leave of the Mo'lot months, we must add a few 
words respecting what is in Acheh comprehended under the word 

We should not be far wrong in asserting that this word (another of 
those imported into the Archipelago from India ') has the same meaning 
as what the Javanese and Sundanese indicate by the expressions 
sedckah, sidekah, slametan or liajat, and often too by the vjord'i kenduri 
or kmduren. It is a feast given with a religious purpose, or in con- 
formity with a command of religious law. The occasions which give 
rise to it are of various kinds. 

With one of these we have just made acquaintance, viz. a religious 
festival or day of commemoration. There are besides a number of 
domestic events which are celebrated by such feasts. The Mohammedan 
law ordains with special emphasis their being held on the occasion of 
a wedding, but also recommends them for circumcisions and sundry 
other events which give rise to rejoicing. 

The same law requires that the religious character of such feasts 
should not be lost sight of. The poor must be invited, and preferably 
the devout poor. There is no difhculty in finding such; the leubes or 
the corresponding class in other countries are distinguished by piety 
at least in outward seeming, and are at the same time usually poor 
or pass as being so. No prohibited amusements or sports must be held, 
no forbidden display made, where a waliiiiah (as these feasts are called 
in the books of the law) is in progress. 

These forbidden things are indeed forbidden at all times, but if such 
trangression is committed at a zvalimah (=^ kanduri, sidekah etc.) the 
feast itself loses its sacred character. The law directs in all cases and 
in some even imperiously commands attendance in response to an in- 
vitation to a walimah, but is equally express in prohibiting it where 

l) See Qanooit-e-islam pp. 164, 184 — 5. 


the feast is robbed of its religious character by music for instance, or 
the presence of women in the company of males, or the employment 
for decorative purposes of representations of living beings or the like. 
But as the adat of the worldly in all Mohammedan countries regards 
these forbidden things as indispensable to every feast, various methods 
are resorted to for effecting a compromise. Only such leubes and ulamas 
are invited as are content to wink at worldly display, so long as they 
can satisfy their scruples by abstaining from taking a direct part in it. 
Sometimes both aspects of the feast are maintained, but at different 
times, so that the ulama may with an easy conscience sanctify the 
walimah by his recitation of prayer, though he well knows that the 
festival will presently be disgraced by proceedings inspired of the 
Evil One. 

A death also furnishes occasion for a kanduri. The holding of such 
a feast on the actual day of the death, though common in practice, is 
not altogether in conformity with the law, though it sanctions feasts 
being held at certain customary intervals (e. g. on the i^, 7th or 40'h day) 
after the decease. These are always preceded by a recitation from the 
Quran or dikr. Such kanduris are viewed in the same light as those 
given on the anniversary of a saint. The reward ordained by Allah 
for the Quran recitation, the dikr and the giving of the religious feast, 
is tendered to the deceased relative or to the saint, as the case may 
be. If the former, it is done to promote the soul's repose of the decea- 
sed by increasing his heavenly recompense, while the gift to the saint 
is made to gain his goodwill and intercession with Allah. In Xh^ popular 
superstition, which is based on the earlier worship of the dead, such 
kanduris are considered actual offerings of food to the deceased them- 
selves. It is believed that they enjoy the immaterial essence of all that 
is set before them. 

Though the sanctification by means of Quran recitations, dikrs or 
prayer is always regarded as an embellishment of the kanduri, and 
one or other of the three is considered indispensable at many of these 
feasts, kanduris are also given which have nothing of this kind to 
distinguish them. There may be either simply an oral "address" to 
the saint or departed spirit whom it is sought to propitiate, or to the 
spirits of the dead in general, or else the religious object of the feast 
may be kept in view in thought only without any outward form. 

Such kanduris or sidekahs of the simplest kind are believed to pro- 


mote good or ward off evil fortune. Suppose some relative is on a 
journey, some new business being set on foot or a child being sent 
for the first time to school. The safe return of the traveller, success in 
the undertaking, quickness of learning on the child's part are all sought 
to be promoted by a religious feast the devotional character of which is 
only shown by a prayer for prosperity {du'^a salamat), when one of those 
present happens to know such a prayer. In the same manner dreaded 
evil is charmed away, as for instance during an epidemic, or after an 
alarming dream or threat. These are the sort of feasts which in some 
districts of Java have the sj^ccial name of slaiiietans (good-luck feasts). 
But as we have already said, sidekah, slavtetan and kanduri are gene- 
rally confused in the colloquial, and in Acheh they are all inchuled 
under the single expression kanduri or kanuri. 

The name sidekah, under which these feasts are most generally known 
in Java, is a corruption of the Arabic sadaqali, i. e. pious or devout 
offerings. Such a feast is indeed a pious offering in a double sense, 
for the feast is given to guests distinguished to some extent by their 
leading a religious life, and the recompense of the good work thus 
done falls to the share of the deceased. Sedekah is also used in its 
proper sense of a present with pious intent, when for instance a gift 
in money or kind is offered to a Icitbe, iilama, sayyid or other devout 
person '). 

The word kanduri supplies both meanings in the Achchnese vernacular. 
The kanduri 6. Kanduri boh kaye'e ( Juindda U-akhir) owes its name to a custom 

of fruits. , A 1 1 /-\ 1 r 1 • 1 , 

common amongst the Achehnese. On some one day ol this month they 
purchase fruits of every kind to be found in the market. These they 
bring as a kanduri or pious offering to the mosque or meunasah, where 
they are enjoyed by those of the faithful who are present in these 
places of worship, under the supervision of the attendants of the mosque 
or the Teungku. 

The original purpose of this custom seems now to have been for- 
gotten by the Achehnese themselves. At present these offerings are 
regarded as a kanduri keu ureueng chi' i. e. a kanduri for the advan- 
tage of the giver's ancestors, but which also serves to promote his 
own prosperity. 

l) In Malay sedlkah is only used in the sense of "alms", "kaiiihir:" being, as in Acheh, 
the sole word for a feast of the nature described above. ( Traiis/ator.) 


The 9"i, io"i and i I'li days of this month are consecrated to a saint Tuan Meu- 
whose tomb is to be found at Nagore on the Coromandel coast. He 
has also many worshippers in Acheh, seemingly through the influence 
of those inhabitants of Southern India who introduced here the creed 
of Islam. 

What I have observed elsewhere ') with regard to feasts of saints 
at Mekka, is equally true of these "saints days" in Acheh — nay through- 
out the whole Moslem world. "The people have no clear idea as to 
what the "day" of a saint really is. They say, it is true, that it is the 
haul or anniversary of the death of the holy man. But some saints 
have more than one haul per annum, the exact day of the death of 
most is unknown, and from the way in which many of the saint's 
feasts are celebrated, it is a sure conclusion that some of the ancient 
pagan feasts of the people, after throwing oft' certain of their more 
characteristic heathen features disguised themselves under the names 
of saints to avoid the extermination which threatened them." 

The saint to whom we have just referred is called in his own 
country Kadir Wall Sahib "). The Achehnese name for him is Meuralisab 
or Metirasab '). 

The lo'h day of the sixth month is accepted as the anniversary of 
his death, and the kanduri held thereon is called kanduri to' thon 
Tuan Meurasab, i. e. "the religious feast for the expiration of the year 
of Tuan Meurasab." 

Strange stories are told of Tuan Meurasab "'). He grew up in the 
wilderness in complete innocence, and it so happened that he saw the 
breasts of a woman for the first time just when he was himself suftering 
from a pimple on his hand. As this tiny swelling caused him so much 
pain, he thought that this poor woman must suffer terrible agony from 
such gigantic tumours on her chest. He prayed for the removal of 
these protuberances, and his prayer was at once answered. The woman 

1) Mekka. Vol. 11 pp. 52 — 53. 

2) For further information regarding this saint and the manner of his worship in the 
Deccan, see the worli already quoted, Qanoon-c-islam pp. 160 — 163. 

3) I. e. McHi-ah Sahib. Meurah is an ancient title, occurring in the records of the kingdom 
of Pase. It appears to be of foreign origin, and almost to correspond with Mir = Amir 
in Indian names. There are still families in Acheh which bear the title, and these are 
regarded as descendants of ancient chiefs. The elephant is called Pi Meurah in stories. 
Sab is an abbreviation of the Indian title Sahib. 

4) Qanoon-c-islam pp. 162 — 163. 


was naturally much distressed, and went and informed her relations 
how she had seen the beauty of her person suddenly vanish on the 
utterance of a few words by a penitent hermit. At the entreaties of 
her family Meurasab offered up a second prayer, which resulted in the 
restoration of the lost charms. 

A further example of his miraculous power supplies an explanation 
of the fact that the Achehnese were readily persuaded by the foreigners 
who visited their country to revere this pious recluse as the protector 
of navigation. 

The captain of a ship, whose vessel was on the point of foundering 
owing to a leak, vowed that he would make a handsome offering in 
the name of Meurasab if the leak were stopped through his intercession. 
Our saint was at that moment sitting under the razor of a barber, and 
held, as is customary with Orientals, a small mirror in his hand to 
direct the operator in his work. Feeling that his aid was invoked, he 
flung away his mirror. By Allah's help it made its way through air 
and water till it found its destination beneath the ship and stopped 
the leak, so that both vessel and cargo came safe to land. 

The vows, however, that are made to this saint in Acheh, are by 
no means confined to ships and sailors. 

His intervention is also invoked on behalf of sick children. The vow 
in such cases consists in the promise of a gold or silver hand, or 'the 
height of the child in gold"' [santeut d'oyig) in the event of recovery. 
Such hands or pieces of gold thread (woven as thin as possible) are 
given to Kling traders journeying to Madras, who undertake their 
transmission to Nagore '). 

Other vows are fulfilled at the place of abode of those who make 
them. Even the payment of what has been promised to the great 
saints of Acheh as recompense for their intercession does not always 
involve a visit to their graves. Suppose for instance that the master 
of a vessel, while in danger at sea, has vowed a goat to Tuen Meu- 
rasab for his safe return, he kills the goat in his own gampong, makes 
a kanduri with it and requests the teungku to recite over it \.\\c. fatihali 
(the first chapter of the Quran) for the benefit of the saint. 

The 'anniversary" of the saint is occasionally celebrated in Kuta Raja 

l) Penang Mohammedans have a superstition that articles of value vowed to this saint 
if thrown into the sea at Penang will be washed up in a few months time close to the 
shrine at Nagore. ( Translator.') 


and Trumon by a great kanduri on the lo'li day of this month, but the 
givers of this feast are always the Klings who reside there, and the 
Achehnese who partake of it do so only as guests. Tuan Meurasab 
has thus really no place in the Achehnese calendar of festivals. 

7. Kanduri Apam [Rajab) holds its place in the official calendar of The ascen- 
feasts, chiefly because Mohammad's celebrated ''journey to heaven" is heaven, 
supposed to have taken place on the night of (or rather the night 
before) the 27'h of this month. For the commemoration of this night 
the people assemble either in the mosque or in their own houses, and 
a history of the iiii^raj as it is called (Ach. ine'reu'et) is recited. This 
recitation consists in a description of the ascension in rhyming prose 
and verse, similar to those of the birth and life of the Prophet. 

This pious custom is observed in Acheh, but not to any greater 
extent than in other parts of the Indian Archipelago. In a word, its 
observance is confined to those who profess special devotion to religion, 
such as the leiibes, maleins etc. It is not a national festival in any 
sense of the words. 

On the 1 8th of this month one of the three principal annual kanduris The wife 
is held in the dcah (prayer-house) at the tomb of the great saint ^njoug"^ 
Teungku Anjong. This is done in honour of his consort, whose tomb 
stands close to his. She is commonly known as Aja ') Eseutiri\.e. ''my 
lady the consort." She appears to have died on the i8'h of Rajab 
1235 (May 1820). She was a daughter of a Sayyid of the famous clan 
of ^Aidid and her real name was Fatimah bint Abdarrhaman "^Aidid. 

The kanduri Aja Eseutiri resembles exactly the two others that are 
celebrated at that sacred tomb on the I2i'i of Mo'lot and the 14th ofPuasa. 

The custom from which this month derives its Achehnese name is 
pretty generally observed, though less markedly so in recent times. On 
some one day of the month of Rajab the well-known round flat cakes 
known as apam, made of ordinary rice-flour and cocoanut milk, are 
baked in every house. A number of these are brought as kanduri to 
the mosque or meunasah, just in the same way as the kanji Ashura. 

As many as a hundred of these little cakes are piled upon a dish, 
and to this is added a basin of sauce which is called scurawa and 
consists of cocoanut milk, sugar and beaten-up eggs. It is not sur- 
prising that the faithful frequenters of the mosque suffer from apam- 

i) Aja is really an abbreviated form of Raja = prince cr princess. 


indigestion during this month, or that in spite of the large share that 
falls into the hands of the youthful hordes that lurk in the vicinity, 
many apam-cakes have in the end to be thrown away. 

The story goes that once on a time a certain Achehnese, possessed 
by curiosity as to what befalls man in the tomb, and especially as to 
the investigations of the angels of the grave, Munkar and Nakir, and 
the punishments they are supposed to inflict, feigned death and was 
buried alive. He was soon subjected by the two angels to an enquiry 
as to his faith and works, and as he was found wanting in many 
respects, they began to smite him with their iron clubs. None of the 
blows, however, reached him. Something that he could not clearly 
distinguish in the darkness of the tomb, but which seemed to resemble 
the moon in its circular form, interposed itself as a shield and warded 
off the blows. 

He contrived to work his way out of his narrow prison and hastened 
to his relatives, who received him with amazement. After relating his 
adventures he came to know to what he had to attribute his merciful 
deliverance from flagellation by the ghostly clubs. At the very moment 
when the moon-shaped shield was giving him its shelter, the members 
of his family were in the act of preparing for a kanduri the apam 
cakes, which are in fact round like the moon. 

Thus it became a certainty that apam-cakes exercise a specially 
favourable influence on the fortunes of the dead. Such is said to be 
the origin of the Achehnese custom of baking apam cakes and distri- 
buting them as kanduri in the 7>li month of the year in the interest 
of their ancestors and deceased relatives. 
Other apam Besides this great general feast two other customs of the Achehnese 

kanduris. ^ , , • , . . , . , , . „ , .... 

nnd their explanation in this legend, viz. i a domestic kanduri apam 
held on the seventh day after the death of any person and 2° a simi- 
lar feast on the occurrence of an earthquake, which is supposed to 
have a peculiarly discomposing effect on the material remains of the 

We may let the details of this explanation of the kanduri apam 
pass for what they are worth. At the same time it is quite conceivable 
that the custom had its origin in the worship of the dead ; and a 
certain connection between the shape of the cakes which form the 
offering and some now forgotten notions connected with the moon is 
at least not impossible. 


8° Kanduri Bii (Sha^bdn). Throughout the whole of the Indian Ar- All souls 
chipelago this month is dedicated to the commemoration of the dead. 
This does not imply grief for their loss, but rather care for their souls' 
repose, which is not inconsistent with merrymaking. This solicitude for 
the welfare of the departed exhibits itself by the giving of religious 
feasts. According to the oiiicial or learned conception this is done in 
order to bestow on the deceased the recompense earned by this good 
work; according to the popular notion it is to let them enjoy the 
actual savour of the good things of the feast. 

Feasts for the benefit of any given deceased person are, as we whall 
presently see, only held during a short period after his death. In Acheh 
this period is even shorter than elsewhere, consisting of only lOO days. 
In Java there are further commemorations on the first two anniversa- 
ries and the lOOOth day. Under the influence of Mekka it has even 
become the custom to celebrate the anniversaries of the departed so 
long as pious children or grandchildren survive to cherish their memory. 

In the end, however long the interval, the deceased is personally 
forgotten, but is included in the ranks of "ancestors" or "spirits of the 
departed", occasionally commemorated at odd times according to the 
fancy of individuals, but as a rule during a single month in the year 
set apart for the purpose. The choice of the eighth month of the year 
for this commemoration, which in Arabia generally takes place in the 
seventh month, seems a further corroboration of the introduction of 
Islam into Acheh from the Deccan '). 

The name of the month Sha'^ban in many native languages is 
borrowed from this pious custom. In Javanese it is called Riizuah or 
month of all spirits, and in Achehnese Rice-kanduri, since on some 
one day of this month every household holds in honour of the depar- 
ted a religious feast, in which rice forms the principal dish. 

Rice is, indeed, the chief comestible in many other kanduris and in Rice-kan- 
purely secular feasts, but in Acheh the name of "religious rice feast" 
is specially given to the kanduris in honour of the dead, whether in 
the 8'h or in other months. Whenever any chance occurrence inclines 
them to show their ancestors that they are not forgotten, the people 
cook rice and its accessories and invite the tcunsjku to consecrate such 

l) Qanoon-e-islain p. i66: "On the 13''" of the month (Shaban), either during the day or 
in the evening, they prepare in the name of deceased ancestors and relatives polaoo and 
curries etc." 


an occasional kanduri with his prayers. This is called simply "having 
recitations made over rice" {juc beiict bit], and the prayer most in use 
on such occasions is called du'a beu'et bii ~- "prayer to be offered over 
rice". This is called in Java the prayer of tombs, since it begins with 
the words "Oh Allah, let mercy descend on the dwellers in the 
tombs" '). An artistic reciter varies this, when the feast is celebrated 
with unusual iclat, by a more elaborate and longer prayer, whilst the 
most ignorant recite in its place the fatihah or first chapter of the 
Quran, which every child knows by heart. 

Thus each family has its "recitation over the rice" during the month 
kanduri bu on whatever day best suits its convenience. This is done 
for the benefit of the dead (the ureii'eng chi or ancestors as they are 
called) and also for that of the living, whose prosperity is according 
to the popular belief directly dependent on the respect they pay to 
the dead. It is said for example that anyone who had his worldly 
wealth increased by the inheritance of a dead man's property, would 
quickly lose this profit if he neglected to celebrate the kanduri bu 
with the requisite pomp and circumstance in the same year. 

The adat requires that the teungku meunasah be invited to this feast. 
He can either recite the prayer himself or empower another to do so. 

The Javanese custom of clearing the graves of ancestors and rehabi- 
litating their exterior during the month of Sha'^ban is unknown in 
Acheh, where the resting places of the dead are neglected to such a 
degree that it is difficult to find them in the third generation. In 
Acheh too, the feasts of all souls are always held at home, while in 
Java people assemble for this purpose at the burial-places. 
The malam The special sanctity of the "night of the middle of Sha'^ban", called 
inalam beureuat in Acheh (in the Deccan Sliab-i-barat) is believed in 
by all Mohammedans. It is supposed that on that particular night 
Allah determines the fate of mortals during the forthcoming year. The 
most popular idea is that there is a celestial tree of symbolic import, 
on which every human being has a leaf to represent him. This tree is 
shaken during the night preceding the is'h of Sha'^ban, causing the 
leaves of all those who are to die during the coming year to fall. 

In Arabia many watch through a part or the whole of this night, 
and offer up a prayer, invoking Allah's mercy, and beseeching him to 

I) -ji ^3,**:! J.*! J.C -i^^ ^-j^ fxw. 


blot out from his eternal book the calamities and adversity destined 
for the suppliant. Such a prayer is in Acheh only offered up by the 
special representatives of religion. Most of the adult males celebrate 
this night by a small and simple kanduri [kanduri beureii'at) in the 
meunasah of their gampong. Some hold during the evening a special 
prayer, the scumayang teuseubeh (Arab, (alat at-tasdb'ili) or "service of 
praise". All assemble for this service, and one of those present is 
chosen to act as imam. This prayer resembles in essentials all other 
(cilats, but is distinguished by the constant repetition of a certain 
tasblh-formula known in Arabic as tasbih ') in praise of the Creator, in 
each of the four parts into which it is divided. 

Others perform, in place of this seumayang, what is called the seu- 
niayang liajat, prescribed as the introduction to special supplications ad- 
dressed to the Deity. A seumayang hajat consists of two parts {rak^ah). 
During the malain beureu'at three such players (thus comprising six 
rali^ahs) are sometimes offered up. Each of these has its particular 
motive, the first being for prolongation of life, the second for the 
necessary means of supporting life, and the third for a blissful end. 

This kind of sfiiiiiayang is however celebrated by the women with 
much greater zeal than by the men. They either perform the service 
of praise under a female imam or the "seumayang hajat" each one 
for herself. 

The end of this St'' month, and in particular the three last days, 
are marked by an extraordinary activity owing to the preparations for 
the Puasa or Feasting Month. We have seen above that it was of old 
the custom in Acheh to fix the beginning of the fasting month (in 
other words the day of the new moon following immediately on Sha'^ban) 
by calculation. The efforts of Habib Abdurrahman and other zealots 
to introduce the ru'ya or actual observation of the new moon as the 
only lawful method met with little sympathy. In Pidie there has pre- 
vailed for many years a difference of opinion as to the determination 
of the commencement of the Puasa, resulting in quarrels between the 
various gampongs and actual discrepancies in their calendars. 

The three sagis followed the usage of the capital, where the first 
day of Ramadhan was made known so long beforehand, that everyone 

i) Tasbih in its shortest form is the ejaculation of the words "Subhana 'Hah (ilJl ...LsA.**) 
'praise be to God" the constant repetition of which is deemed to atone iot ■iva..(jrrans!aloi-.) 


could tell in advance what the last three days of Sha"^ban would be, 
whether 27 — 29, or 28 — 30. 

The chief object of the preparations during these three days is to 
ensure an abundant provision for breaking the fast every evening at 
sunset and enjoying a final meal before earliest dawn. It is also sought 
to provide against being obliged to make purchases of any kind during 
the fasting month. The fasters are as a matter of fact too exhausted 
to give the ordinary amount of attention to trade in the daytime '), 
so that the markets are nearly empty during these thirty days of mor- 

The two meals per diem between nightfall and daybreak which 
form each man's allowance in the month of Puasa, are made as nou- 
rishing as possible, as otherwise he would not have strength to fulfil 
the religious obligation of abstinence. At the same time the most pala- 
table food, such as is not in daily use at other times, is chosen in 
order to guard against a gradual loss of appetite and consequent in- 
disposition. Thus the stockfish which forms the staple animal food daily 
consumed by the Achehnese, is during the fasting month replaced by 
meat, which is at other seasons rarely used in most households and 
regarded as a luxury -). 
The slaugh- Hence comes the ancient custom of buying a stock of meat in every 
three-davs gampong during the three days preceding the commencement of the 
f^'""- fasting month. On the last day before the fast, the people feast abun- 

dantly on the meat, and pickle the remnants with salt, vinegar etc. to 
form a provision calculated to last about 15 days. To satisfy this 
universal demand for meat, the highlanders come down with their 
cattle for sale to the chief town. In former times ') there was a regular 
fair in Banda Acheh during those three days, as a store had to be 
laid in not alone of meat, but of all other household necessaries as 
well, sufficient to last for a month. Both men and women in Acheh 

1) The same may be said of the Malays of the Peninsula. Those who have fixed employ- 
ment work most unwillingly during this month, while those who are beholden to no master 
do not work at all. In more populous places, especially in the large towns, the rule is 
somewhat relaxed ; but the more pious observers of the fast will not swallow even their own 
saliva between earliest dawn and sunset in the month of Ramadhan. {^Translator.') 

2) See p. 32 above. 

3) Before the war with the Dutch. When this war began, the highlanders were driven 
back to their mountain fastnesses, the Sultan fled to Keumala, and Banda Acheh became 
the capital of the territory seized by the Dutch and the base of tlieir operations. ( Transla/or.') 


have a passion for such busy scenes, so that not only the buyers and 
sellers, but a great part of the population of the three sagis, all in 
fact who could afford the journey, used to come to the capital to join 
in the fair. 

As early as the middle of Sha^ban, the keuchi's and teungkus make 
their estimates for the forthcoming purchase of meat. Each inhabitant 
of the gampong is asked how many dollars he intends to spend on 
meat, and thus they compute how many head of cattle it may be 
necessary to purchase. Two or three head is the general allowance per 
gampong. The people of the XXII, and some of those of the XXVI 
Mukims are in the habit of slaughtering many cows on such occasions. 
Elsewhere, as in the XXV Mukims and the territory not included 
in the three sagis, they slaughter male buffaloes by preference, since 
it is believed that the use of too much cow's flesh results in a certain 
sickness called siawan (Malay seriawan), the symptoms of which are 
cutaneous eruptions, decay of the teeth and loss of hair. 

One of the common folk of the gampong is entrusted by the keuchi' 
with the collection of the money. He is known as the ;/;-«/ cV/^ ///www^^^t-; 
after the purchases have been concluded he receives two dollars as 
recompense for his trouble. Before the war, however, the payment of 
the vendors used to be put off until just before the close of the fasting 
month, when the highlanders came down with their buft'aloes for the 
second time. A new slaughter then took place to provide meat for the 
feast which marks the end of the fast, but not on as large a scale as 
the first. 

The beasts are slaughtered by the teungku of the meunasah. Most 
Mohammedans, even though they neglect or are backward in the 
performance of their own religious duties, are very particular as to who 
it is that slaughters the animal of whose flesh they are to partake. He 
must be one well versed in the rules prescribed by the law in respect 
of the slaying of animals for food ; and he must also be strict in the 
performance of his daily prayers and other rites enjoined by the 
Mohammedan religion. Thus it is that throughout a great portion of 
Java the iiiodin, kahniii or lebe (the "village priest," as Europeans call 
him) is the only butcher. As a reward for his trouble he receives the 
keredan or neck of every animal he kills '). 

i) In the Malay Peninsula the butcher is usually the imam of the mosque or a lebei; as 
recompense he is entitled to the hide of the slaughtered animal. ( Translator'). 



This is nearly identical with the portion given as recompense to the 
teungku in Acheh, who is allowed to appropriate three fingers breadth 
behind the ears. This is called the Si'iimeii/t'/ian = "reward for slaughter." 

The hide becomes the property of the meunasah. It is converted 
into a leathern prayer carpet or else sold, the proceeds being spent 
in the purchase of kettles or such other utensils as are required for 
the preparation of kanduris. 

Until the later years preceding the establishment of the Dutch in 
Acheh, this three-days' fair was one of the most bustling of festivals. 
We can conjecture from this what it must have been when the port- 
kings of Acheh as such were at the zenith of their glory. The direct 
participation of the Dalam (the Sultan's Court) in this annual market 
was in these latter days limited to certain traditional customs which 
merely kept alive a feeble reminiscence of the past. These paltry sur- 
vivals of the old ceremonial are however the only portion of it of 
which we have any accurate knowledge. 
The Sianta. On the first day of the fair, just before noon, the Srauta took place. 
This was a proclamation with beat of gong, in the name of the Sultan, 
that the annual market had begun. 

Five or six young men of the Sultan's suite (which as we have seen 
was not recruited from the best class of the people) appeared in the 
market, where buyers and sellers had already assembled in unusually 
large numbers. Business was however in full swing in the market before 
its official inauguration, for every one knew that the fast was close at 
hand, and even the exact date of the first day of the Puasa became 
generally known long before its official announcement. 

The emissaries of the Sultan now proceeded to beat loudly and 
repeatedly on a great gong in the midst of the bustling crowd, and 
in the intervals between the strokes one of their number, who acted 
as herald, cried aloud the following words "Twenty-six, twenty-five, 
twenty-two ') ! Such is the command of our lord (the Sultan) : on this 
day (the cattle is) brought down (from the highlands); to morrow let 
the beasts fight; the next day let them be slaughtered." 

The adat permitted these royal messengers to take without payment 

l) The people of the three s.igis of Great-.\cheh, the XXVI, the XXV and the XXII 
Mukims are here addressed, the same traditional order of precedence being observed which 
we have already (p. 140 above) noted in connection with the coronation of a new king. 


on this day all that they wished of the victuals, sirih, tobacco etc. 
displayed on the stalls. Owing, however, to the large attendance at 
the fair and the unusually large number of sellers, these last did not 
individually suffer much from the depredations of this little band of 

The names given to the three non-official feast days correspond 
exactly with the herald's proclamation. Collectively they are known 
as urbe manieugang, which appears to mean 'days of the inauguration 
of the fast" '). 

The first day, that is the 27tl> or 28'^ of the month, is called uroc 
pent ran = '■the. day of the bringing down," the next icrbe /«/><)'== "the 
day of the fighting," and the last urbe seumeusie =^ "the slaughter day." 
This is also specially known as urbe mameugang. 

We must not attach too exact a significance to these names. Live 
stock were brought down to the town before as well as on the urbe 
peutron and also if necessary on the following day. The urbe pupo was 
not devoted to beastfights as the word might lead us to suppose. 
Popular as this amusement is among the Achehnese, no one had time 
for it on this busiest of all market days. The name was given half in 
jest, because this was the day of the fair on which most cattle were 
sold and thus underwent examination with a view to their purchase. 
This examination is named after the trial of strength of their beasts 
which excites such universal interest among Achehnese onlookers. 

The great crowding and bustle of the urbe pupo always gave rise to 
street fights, generally originating in accidental affronts such as occur 
in all densely crowded gatherings. It is said that the highlanders, ever 
eager for fighting and pillage, used to seize the opportunity to appro- 
priate their neighbours' goods during the conflict which they had pur- 
posely provoked with that very object. 

The "day of slaughter," alone of the three, corresponds exactly with 
its name. On this day the teungku slaughters the beasts, the authorities 
of the gampong divide the meat among the purchasers, the women 
cook it; in short, the whole community is in a state of incessant bustle. 

In spite of the coming privations the approach of the fasting month 

l) In Malay the days immediately preceding the iAit axscaWeA m^mtgang or hari mlmlgang 
while the Javanese name them megeiig. The Achehnese attach no special meaning to the 
expression and regards it as being of foreign origin. 


is joyfully welcomed. Those who have begun to join in the fast while 
still young can endure the daily abstinence without much effort, if not 
required to do any heavy work during this month, and if allowed to 
accomodate their occupations to the change of living which the fast 
involves. The nights of the Puasa in an Achehnese gampong arc full 
of noisy merriment, especially among the young men in their own 
particular sphere, the meunasah. With this in view, these combined 
clubs and chapels arc put into some sort of order at the end of Sha'^ban. 

They are cleaned up — which they require only too much the big 

lamp is brought out and hung up etc. 
The Fast. 9. Piiasa [Raniadkan). The month, like the day, begins at sunset. 
We have seen ') how in old times the commencement of the day was 
announced in the capital of Acheh by the firing of a gun from the 
Ualam, and how the right of firing this shot [nbbali) was regarded as 
one of the high prerogatives of the sultan. Such was also the case 
with the sunset that began the fasting month; but seven shots were 
fired to call attention to this important epoch. On the subsequent days 
of the fast the customary single shot was thought sufficient, and served 
as a signal for the universal bukah (the breaking of the fast). 

The Mohammedan law does not brook the most trifling breach of 
the prescribed abstinence. The smallest particles of solid or liquid food 
or the smoke of tobacco or opium entering the body between the 
earliest dawn and sunset make the fast day null and void and render 
it necessary to repeat it later on. As regards the breaking of the fast, 
each one may follow his own inclination, but it is considered siinnat 
or commendable to take some food immediately after sunset, and 
equally so to have another meal before the break of day. This latter 
is called saivo (a corruption of the Arabic sahur) by the Achehnese. 

That none may miss the time for preparing and eating the sawo- 
mcal, the great drum [tambu] in the chapels is beaten at intervals from 
1 to 3 A. M. In the days of the sultanate an additional warning was 
conveyed by means of a cannon-shot (called sanibang -] fired about 
4 A. M. to warn the people that "a white thread might now be told 
from a black," as the text of the Quran has it, i. e. that the time of 
the sawo had come to an end. 

i) P. 128 above. 

2) The .Vchehnese now apply this name to the morning and evening guns tired by the 
Dutch garrison. 


The fast is faithfully observed by many and publicly transgressed 
by none. Every one is aware that heavy opiumsmokers cannot abstain. 
Others who find the abstinence too severe, surreptitiously consume 
cakes, fruits, sugarcane etc., but would be ashamed to have cooked 
food prepared for them. They also partake unblushingly of the break- 
fast at sunset and of the sawo-meal. They dare not chew sirih in the 
daytime, since that leaves traces which cannot be all at once obliterated. 

In Acheh, as in Java '), there are many bad observers of the fast, 
who to ease their consciences fast on the first and last, and sometimes 
also on the middle day of the month. 

The liberal view that prevails in parts of Java, that the smoking of 
tobacco does not affect the fast, finds no serious supporters in Acheh- 
Many Achehnese, however, make endurance easier by occasionally 
rubbing their teeth (and perhaps their tongue too by accident !) with 
tobacco. In defence of this practical they point to the fact that the 
religious law strongly recommends the cleansing of the teeth by rubbing 
them with the end of a stick of some soft sort of wood '-). It differs 
then but little, they say, whether tobacco or some other plant be 
employed for this purpose. 

The second meal is generally taken at home, but during the fasting The meu- 
month almost all the people of the gampong are wont to assemble at fastin? 
the meunasah to await the sunset. At the appointed time they partake ™<^"''i- 
of a meal prepared from general contributions under the supervision 
of the teungku, and share in the seiiiiiayang miigreb or at least remain 
as spectators during its performance. Even notorious opiumsmokers 
contribute their share and do not fail in attendance, though they do 
not even make a pretence of sharing in the meal through fear of being 
laughed at. They choose a place in the bale near the meunasah, or at 
least refrain from entering the latter. 

The customary dish for this preliminary breakfast is a porridge 
[kanji] made from rice and various leaves pounded fine. It is cooked 
by some poor old man of the gampong, who gets from the teungku 
a share of the pitrah for his pains. The assembled villagers have each 

i) In Java this method of keeping the fast is jestingly called /h/h/ ^^>/</<7«^ = "the closing 
of the drum," the allusion being to the empty space enclosed between the two skin cover- 
ings at either end of a drum. 

2) This method of cleaning the teeth is called sug'oe (Mai. siigi). So the Achehnese say 
in the month of Puasa '^sughe bakong hana petie" = "rubbing (the teeth) with tobacco does 
not signify." 


a cocoanut-shcll or a smal! basin to contain tlieir sliaie '). When the 
sunset prayer, during which those who take no part therein remain 
seated at the back -), is finished, all return home to satisfy their hunger. 

After 7 P. M. the men, especially the younger ones, reassemble by 
ones and twos in the meunasah to celebrate the ^iclia or evening 
prayers, and in particular to be present at the trmveli which succeeds them. 
Thetraweh. The traivc'h (Arab taraimh) are ordinary prayers of the kind classified 
as voluntary but recommended by the law. Most seiimayangs, whatever 
their special appellations may be, differ from one another only in the 
number of their subdivisions (rak^ats) and some trifling distinctions in 
the form of the ritual. Thus the trazvch are composed of 20 subdiv- 
isions, each pair of which is separated from the rest by a taslimali, 
which consists in sitting with the head turned first to the right and 
then to the left and invoking a blessing on all believers. This as a 
general rule takes place at the end of the whole seumayang. The 
traweh may be held only in the fasting month, on every evening and 
night between the ^iclia and the morning, i. e. from about 7.30 P. M. 
to 3 A. M. The usual time is immediately after the "^icha or about 8 P. M. 

The practice of Mohammedans in regard to the division of religious 
works into obligatory and meritorious differs in many particulars from 
the teaching of the law. Many things \\'hich the law treats as imperative 
obligations, as very pillars of the creed of Islam, are neglected by the 
great majority, whilst other observances which may be passed by 
without any risk of incurring divine punishment, are esteemed indis- 
pensable by the mass of the people. 

Thus throughout the whole Mohammedan world many persons take 
part with extreme zeal in the traweh service, who unblushingly neglect 
daily religious duties which they are under a strict obligation to per- 
form. This popular over-estimation of the traweh is explained by its 
connection with the fasting month. 
Popular In like manner the fast itself has a higher place in the popular 

the Ksting estimation than in the law. It is indeed one of the main pillars of the 
month as a creed of Islam, but in actual practise it is improperly accepted as the 

month of ex- ^ I- r / t' 


i) Some meunasahs have attached to them patches of rice-land, the gift of devout persons 
who have set them apart as wakaf to meet the expenses of such frugal repasts. These are 
called liming ie hi = "Rice-fields for rice-water." 

2) Such a thing would be inconceivable in Arabia: in that country he who neglects the 
galat (obligatory prayers) dares not attend a public service. Even in Java the feeling of 
shame for such an act is much stronger than in .\cheh. 


greatest pillar of all, since hundreds who never perform a single seu- 
mayang (a duty just as obligatory as the other) are faithful observers of 
the fast. It is as though this one month of abstinence were to excuse 
all the neglect and transgressions of the past eleven. Thus every ob- 
servance that specially appertains to this month of e.xpiation, whether 
it be obligatory or merely meritorious, is eagerly carried out in the 
fullest possible manner. 

In Java also, people partake in the traweh who never think of at- 
tending a Friday service, to say nothing of performing the daily seu- 
mayangs in mosque or langgar (chapel). 

In Acheh, however, the traw^eh service as celebrated in the meunasah 
savours much of a caricature. Of all the assembled company one or 
two at most, generally not even one takes an active part in the prayers; 
they allow them to be performed by the teungku alone, who properly 
speaking should only act as leader. Without the slightest token of 
respect, all the others sit smoking or chewing sirih. At the Amin with 
which the teungku closes the recitation of the Quran appertaining to 
each subdivision (rak'^ah) of the seumayang, all those present join in 
with a yell. In like manner they take part with loud vociferation in 
the invocation of blessing on the Prophet which as an interlude sepa- 
rates the ten pairs of rak^ahs of the traweh from one another. They 
do not properly repeat the formulas whereby such invocations of 
blessing should be confirmed, but corrupt them by absurd imitations '). 

Ulamas and other devout persons take no share in these follies and 
forbid their sons taking part in them. Indeed many of the teungkus 
find the excessive noise unendurable, and it has happened that one of 
their number threatened to cease his ministrations on account of it. 
So far from regarding his admonition the boldest of the young house- 
holders present replied that if he did so he would receive no pitrah 
from them on the feast-day at the end of the fasting month. 

Thus we see how in Acheh some Mohammedan institutions have 
degenerated into unrecognizable forms. 

The pitrah is a tax payable at the end of the fasting month by all Popular in- 
whose means allow of it, on behalf of themselves and all who are o^the'^Urah 
dependent on them for support. The payment is made in kind, that 

l) For instance the teungku sajs: Allahumma sal/i '^ala sayyidina Muhammad ('O God, 
bless our lord Mohammed") to which they scream the response salala alim Wtt^albyhim^ 
instead of salla ^llahu '^alailii wasal/am. 


is to say in grain of the sort wliicli forms the staple foodstuff of the 
country. It is intended for the selfsame class of indigent folk who are 
supported by the zakat, and its special object is to make it easier for 
them to participate in the feast which succeeds the fast. A person 
such as the Achehnese teungku ought properly only to act, in refer- 
ence to the pitrah, as collector and distributor, receiving for his pains 
a suitable recompense payable from the pitrah itself. 

The traiveli is a religious exercise, recommended to all during the 
nights of the fasting month. Each may perform it in solitude, but its 
celebration b\' the whole community under the leadership of an imam 
is more meritorious. 

So says the law ; but what is the actual practice in Acheh ? There 
the traweh is a religious exercise which the teungku has to perform 
for all, and the pitrah (which has not properly speaking the smallest 
connection with it), is a contribution for the benefit of the teungku, 
regarded as his recompense for the performance of the traweh ! 
The men- The traueh farce is succeeded by the Quran recitation. It is under- 
stood that the recital of the Quran in conformity with the rules of 
the art (provided that the declaimer be in a certain state of ritual 
purity), is always a pious work which Allah will bless with a great 
reward. All good works, however, are much intensified in merit when 
performed during the month of Ramadhan. To repeat it once more, 
this is in the popular conception par excellence the month of religion. 
In this month the pious and the learned recite occasionally in the day- 
time a passage of the holy book, as much as they can find strength 
for; but the nightly recitation in the chapels is a universal custom. 
After the conclusion of the traweh service in the meunasah, certain 
experts volunteer to recite passages from the Quran, and make it their 
endeavour if possible to bring to a conclusion [tamat) once or oftener 
during the month, the thirty subdivisions of the Book. 

This most wearisome task they take by turns. Those who sit by 
usually have before them a copy of the Quran, so that they may 
prompt and correct as they listen (sinia as the Achehnese say, from 
the Arab, sima^ or more correctly savia^ = "hearkening"). Such public 
recitation, wherein one always chants while all the rest listen in silence, 
is called meudaroih '). In this also the teungku acts as conductor; the 

l) Jav. tiariis^ Mai. llft/(iiiis\ recitation by a number of people in chorus is called OTtvr//(;/(;/« 
in .\chehnese = Mai. h'cn-hatam. 


rest of the reciters are niaUnis and leubes who in many cases have 
taken no share in the traweh at the meunasah, preferring to celebrate 
it elsewhere in a more becoming manner under the leadership of 
an ulama. 

The people of the gampong do not remain listening to tlie meudaroih 
till much past lo P. M., but the recitation continues till about i A. M., 
when the tanibu begins to sound as a warning that the time for the 
sawo-meal is at hand. They exhibit their interest in the proceedings, 
however, by bringing, each in turn, trays containing various sweetmeats, 
fruits etc., for the use of the reciters and their audience. 

Where a party thus assembles together to recite the Quran, it is Peutamat 
customary to celebrate the conclusion of the Sacred Book in somewhat 
festive wise. For this occasion there are special prayers, dikrs and 
ratibs, and a special meal. Feasts of this sort arc held in every meu- 
nasah on one of the nights of the fasting month subsequent to the 
I5'li. In deciding on the night, however, it is not so much considered 
whether the thirty parts of the Quran have been exactly completed, 
as whether the time will suit the people of the gampong and their 

The people of the entire mukim are not invited to this peutamat 
daroih (as they are to the kanduri Mo'lot), but onh- those of the gam- 
pongs in the immediate neighbourhood. 

Some days beforehand, the authorities of the gampong begin collecting 
the money contributions. Goats are slaughtered and the rice with its 
accessories is of course provided. These viands serve not only to break 
the fast, but also to satisfy the appetite, so that on this evening the 
people do not go home for their supper. 

On this occasion the traweh is succeeded not by the usual meu- 
daroih but by an excessively noisy ratcb. This (the rateb Saman, so 
called from Samman, the founder of a iarlqah or mystic order, who 
died at Medina, 1152 Hijrah), is especially popular among all native 
Mohammedans of the old stamp. The constant use of this rateb has 
given rise in various places to the introduction of sundry variations 
and additions, which without exception serve to accentuate the appalling 
noisiness of this religious exercise. 

Such is especially the case in Acheh. First of all certain formulas 
in praise of Allah are chanted in measured time by the assembled 
company. Then the time grows gradually faster and faster, the incess- 


antly repeated formulas become shorter (c. g. lut Allah! hiidaaiilliu!) 
and the voices rise to a slirill scream. The yelling fanatics, sweating 
with the violence of their transport, rise up, sit down again, leap and 
dance and often fall down at last in sheer exhaustion — from the 
ecstasy arising from their contemplation of the divine, as they choose 
to deem it. This condition is called do'' ') by the Achehnese, and to 
this most clamorous form of the rateb Samaii they give the name of 
rated niensa or kululiH. 

Any of those present who betrays a manifest reluctance to share in 
the general excitement is sure to be forced to join the crowd in a 
manner not too pleasant for himself Indeed serious disturbances some- 
times arise from the annoyance felt at such indifference. For this reason 
the authorities both of the gampong which is performing the pcutamat 
daroih and the others whose inhabitants have come there as guests 
make a point of attending on such occasions. 
Punishments In all matters of this sort the people of an Achehnese gampong 

inflicted on . i • • i • r 

those who are very exactmg. Anyone who does not sympathise m their la- 
ueg ect to yQy,.j(.g amusements is thought conceited , and his presumption is 

attend at the ° r r 

meunasah. mercilessly punished. Woe to the man, especially the young man, 
who does not appear pretty regularly in the meunasah to attend the 
traweh farce. After having practised patience for a couple of evenings, 
a deputation of gampong people sets out on its punitive mission. The 
very least that they do is to force him from his dwelling by keeping 
up a diabolical din with the tambu or great drum of the meunasah 
beneath his house, until he "comes down" for very shame. 

Frequently, however, such arrogance is lumiiliated in the same manner 
as that of a young bridegroom, who on his arrival in his wife's gam- 
pong after the completion of the marriage ceremony, fails to perform 
with satisfactory zeal the sundry politenesses prescribed by the adat 
towards his new fellow-villagers. This punishment consists in smearing 
with human ordure the steps of his house, which he will in due course 
descend next morning at dawn, barefoot after the manner of all 

Failure to participate is only tolerated in the case of leubes and 
ulamas and their relations from respect, and of chiefs and the members 
of their families from fear. 

I) From the Arab, dauq = "taste," which is also used among the mystics to denote the 
tasting of the higher spiritual enjoyments. In .\chehncse it only means "trance." 


The third of the annual kanduris held in the deah of Teungku Anjong Thekanduri 

of Teu 

in Gampong Jawa, takes place on the night of (i. e. before) the 14'h of ^ -g^""^ " 

this month. The other two have been already mentioned under the 
months Mo'Iot and Kanduri Bu. Tliis is more especially dedicated to 
the saint himself, who according to the Achehnese died on the i4tl>of 
Ramadhan 1196 (August 1782). It is thus caAled kaiid/tri 7'l'^tng^A■le ^Injong. 

A night of great importance according to Mohammedan teaching is 
the night of the qadai- or "divine decree." This is the night on which, 
it is said, the eternal Quran was sent down by Allah to the world 
below, to be finally revealed to Mohammed piece by piece through 
the agency of the Archangel Gabriel. 

It is generally believed that on the day, or rather night which forms 
the anniversary of this great event, the whole creation feels its influ- 
ence. On this special night, no less than on that of the middle of 
Sha'^ban, all manner of rich blessings are supposed to be dealt forth 
by Allah to those who keep vigil therein, wakeful and if possible 
engaged in pious devotions. 

At the present time, however, no one can fix the date with certainty. 
The sole rule is the prevalent idea that the night of the qadar is one 
of the last five odd-numbered nights of the fasting month, i. e. the 
nights preceeding the 21*^ 23d, 251'!, 27tl> or 29th. A weighty reason 
is found herein for devoting all of them to devotional exercises! 

These nights are in all Mohammedan countries spent by the devout 
in recitations from the Quran and other such-like devotions. Here and 
there we find certain superstitious practices resorted to by the people 
for the purpose of drawing down upon their own heads the blessings 
of the qadar night. In Java feasts known as malfimans are given on 
these nights by princes and other persons of distinction to a multitude 
of guests. 

Among these five nights are two which in the general estimation 
dispute with each other the right to the name of qadar night with a 
greater show of probability than the other three, viz. the 21'h and 
27th. The 21th {vialhn salikur) enjoys this preference throughout a great 
portion of Java, a preference which displays itself principally in popular 
rejoicings. In Acheh it is on the night before the 27''! that the greatest 
animation is displayed. Before every housedoor is set a lighted lamp 
with seven mouths, or "eyes" as the Achehnese call them. The young 
amuse themselves by letting off crackers [beudc China i. c. "little 


Chinese guns" as they call them). ') At sunset persons of substance 
bring complete idangs to the meunasah, so that on this occasion the 
celebrants of the feast may enjoy a hearty meal instead of the pre- 
liminary mess of pottage with which they usually break their fast. 

The tradition has it, that during the qadar night ^) the very trees bow 
to the ground in awe in the direction of the kiblat, tliat is to say 
toward the Sacred Mosque at Mekka. This is firmly believed by the 
Achehnese, though with this restriction, that the phenomenon is rarely 
visible to the eyes of ordinary mortals. The young folk, however, make 
expeditions on the night of tlic 27ih "to seek trees doing obeisance" 
[taja mita kayec sujitt); but this popular expression must not be taken 
as seriously meant. 
The jen in T^*^ belief is also universal in Acheh that the jinn (arab. jen) are 

the fasting chained up during the fasting month, and thus, where hostile to man, 
month. r fa & 1 ' 

powerless to harm him. Thus during the Puasa the fear of going about 
in the dark is reduced to a minimum. 

There is no objection to marrying during the Puasa, but other seasons 
are of course preferred, since in this month the opportunities for feasting 
are so extremely limited. 

We have seen that the markets are, for reasons easy to explain, 
practically closed during the first half of the fasting month. It must 
be added that during the first week, marketing is absolutely pantang, 
i. e. forbidden by the adat, the general opinion being that a breach 
of this rule entails misfortune. These pantang periods of seven days 
play a great part in Achehnese superstition. It is impossible to fish 
with luck during the seven days which follow the annual "sea-kanduri" 
of the pukat ^) fishermen. Anyone who wishes to undergo the treatment 
with the curative root of the peundang must follow a prescribed diet 
for 2X7 days; and similarly measured by the number 7 is the time 
allotted for the special diet of those who desire to practice the science 
of invulnerability. 
T, , In the second half of Ramadhan the bustle of the market begins 

1 hiee days ° 

''^ir- gradually to grow greater, and reaches its zenith in the last three days, 

i) The paederasts take an especial delight in making their favourites contend with each 
other at their expense in this noisy pastime. 

2) In Acheh it is spoken of simply as malam dua ploh tujoh (the 27"' night). 

3) Dragnet. These nets are almost exclusively used by Chinese fishermen in the Straits 
Settlements. The Malays angle with lines or catch fish in gigantic traps {bSlat and jermaV) 
formed of stakes. {^Translator). 


which form another regular fair. They bear the same names as the 
hist three days of the previous month, viz. iirb'e peutron, urb'e pupd' 2lX\.A 
uroc seuineusic; they are also known as the urbc nid nieugaiig ') xirb'e 
raya, since the word ma'meugang suggests the days which precede a 
feast. The slaughter of cattle at the end of the fast is almost as great 
as that before its commencement, while the trade in articles of dress 
and the like is much brisker. On the feast day which follows the fast 
all attire themselves in new garments, and the regard of a man for 
his wife and children is measured by the presents which he brings Bringing 

1 1 r I r • T-i • ■ 11 , „. • ■ I 5, home meat. 

home to them from the lau". 1 his is called bringing home meat, 
although the gift usually consists of entirely different things. Meat, a 
luxury seldom used, was in ancient times an indispensable adjunct of 
festal rejoicings in the home. 

The poorer women and children, whose husbands and fathers are 
sojourning on the East or West Coast as pepper-planters, feel the full 
bitterness of their position on a feast-day. Their friends are careful to 
refrain from asking them the question addressed to other women at 
this feast-fair, "How much meat has your husband brought home?"i. e 
"How much money has he presented you with?'' To add to the grief 
and shame of the unlucky ones, they are greeted with compassionate 
looks, and the neighbours often give the children a piece of meat from 
the slaughter in which they cannot participate. 

The feast-day which concludes the fast is fixed by calculation like 
its commencement, and is thus known long beforehand. A number of 
guns from the Dalam at sunset on the last day, used in the Sultans' 
time to convey the superfluous announcement that the first day of the 
feasting month had begun. 

10. Lh'b'c raya {Shaiviudl). During the night before the commencement The feast 
of the feast, the children once more let ofT numerous "little Chinese ,i,e fasting 
guns" (crackers). The women are busily employed with the preparation ""O"'^- 
of food, especially jcuniplian ^) a kind of small cakes, which the adat 

i) See p. 227 above. 

2) A jeiimphan is made as follows. Some paste made of ground glutinous rice mixed 
with plantain pounded fine, is spread out on a plantain-leaf. Over this is sifted grated 
cocoanut and sugar; the paste is then rolled or folded into the shape of a cylinder or prism, 
and the leaf wrapped round it in the same shape. The parcel thus formed is closed at 
both ends and well cooked by steaming {seii'ob) or boiled {reul/oi/i) in a little water. The 
jeumphan^ which is also called limphan^ most closely resembles what the Malays call Upal 
(Malay of Menangkabau lapV). 


strictly requires to be provided among the dainties laid before guests 
on the two Mohammedan feast-days. 

It is regarded as 'pantang' for a husband to cohabit with his wife 
during the night of the feast. Transgression of this prohibition is sup- 
posed, should pregnancy supervene, to result in the birth of a child 
with too many fingers or toes or some other such deformity. 

Guns used to be fired in the Dalam on the uroe raya from 4 A. M. 
till the afternoon. Early in the morning all the men go forth and take 
a "feast-bath" {iiianoe uroe raya). Besides this bath, the law strongly 
recommends a religious service to celebrate the feast [semnayang uroe 
raya). This is held in the chapels, great and small, or else without 
regard to place, in the morning after sunrise, and a sermon follows. 
In many countries this service, although not obligatory, is more strictly 
observed than other devotional exercises prescribed by the law. In 
Java, for example, most chiefs, even though they may never come 
near the mosque on a Friday, are strict in the observance of the 

Such is not the case in Acheh. Those who assemble to perform the 
seuiitayang uroe raya are composed of devotees met together by chance. 
Chiefs and even the teungkus of meunasahs take but little share in 
this service. In this case again it is the zuoinen who combine together 
in various places under a female teungku to celebrate these prayers. 
Pavmentof Before arraying themselves in festal attire, the men go to pay their 
the purah. pitrali to the teungku. All whose means allows of their paying this 
tax without fear of stinting their families, must contribute a certain 
quantity of the grain which forms the staple food of the place in which 
they reside. They are required to pay so much per head on account 
of each of those for whose support they are responsible, including their 
wives and slaves and in some cases their children and parents as well. 
The staple in Acheh is of course rice, and the Arabic legal measure 
has been fixed in Achehnese dry measure at 2 ares ') so heaped up 
so to rise in a cone at the top ^). Hardly a single duty prescribed by 
the law is so faithfully observed throughout the whole Mohammedan 
world as this. Even those who are really hard pressed by its fulfilment, 
are loath to neglect this contribution. Persons of distinction in Acheh 

i) .\s to this measure see also p. 201 above. 

2) This is called itua arc ineiCim or iiuu^iilcc or c/iuc/w. 


as well as in Java make it even on behalf of their attendants {rn/ca/i), 
though the law by no means obliges them to do so. 

This almost exaggerated observance of the rules as to the pitrah is 
attributable to the popular estimation of the fasting month as a period 
of expiation. It is supposed that small involuntary omissions in respect 
of the law of the fast are made good by the fulfilment of the pitrah. 
Thus the contributions are paid with the utmost readiness, in the hope 
that thereby the annual account with Allah may be duly balanced. 

As we have already seen, the teungku, who according to the law 
should only act as a salaried collector or distributor of the pitrah, as 
a matter of fact appropriates the proceeds himself. Thus the great mass 
of the people are left to imagine that the pitrah is in its entirety an 
obligatory payment for the teungku's benefit. Such is also the case in 
Java with the desa-priests and desa-chiefs as they are called by the Dutch. 

It is understood that the law is not content with the simple collection 
of the pitrah. It insists that every one who contributes should per- 
sonally or by agent give evidence of his intent to conform to what 
the law prescribes. The Achehnese, who does not himself know by 
heart any suitable formula for the expression of this intent, gets the 
teungku to whom he brings the rice to dictate one in his place. It 
usually runs somewhat as follows: "This my pitrah for two (or three 
etc.) persons, which the Lord has required of me for this year, I now 
give (or make over) to thee, Oh Teungku ! '). 

Some add, "at they determination oh Teungku !" in which there 
lurks the suggestion that the distribution of the pitrah according to the 
law is confidently entrusted to him; but most teungkus refuse to receive 
the pitrah on such conditions. They believe that the sin of unlawful 
distribution (or rather appropriation of almost the whole of the pitrah 
to their own use) would be visited on them, the teungkus, if the giver 
expressed any such condition, whereas they hold themselves free of 
all responsibility if the pitrah is given to them unconditionally. 

Many make the contribution in money instead of rice ; this they do 
both for the teungku's sake, as he would otherwise be at a loss how 
to dispose of so much rice, and also to facilitate the transport of the 
pitrah itself. The Shafi'ite law requires, it is true, that the pitrah should 

l) JVyoe pitrah lonluan Jna (or llicc etc.) droi: iirciicng nyang Tiihan puwajib da/am 
thdti iiyoc Ion bri (jo^J kcii Tcttfigku. 


be paid in kind ; but there is nothing to prevent the teungku from 
selUng to each of his visitors as much rice as they require to pay the 
pitrah for themselves and their people. This rice the teungku then 
receives back again from the donor of the tax, and thus a few ares 
which he keeps in store suffice for the collection of the whole pitrah. 

In Ja\a also this evasion of the law is pretty general. It enables the 
poor to contribute without difficulty, and at the same time gives the 
recipients the chance of collecting more than they otherwise could, 
for those who have only a few cents to offer, can purchase with these 
the necessary quantity of rice from the "desa-priest", even though it 
be worth more than they pay for it, since the seller knows that he will 
at once receive it back again. 
Congiatu- No sooner is the pitrah paid, than all put on their new clothes, fill 
their bungkoih with an extra large supply of sirih and its accessories, 
and start off to pay the necessary visits of felicitation. The husband 
receives at home by way of congratulation the scunibah of his wife 
and children, which he acknowledges with a gesture, but without 
words. The mothers sometimes, in answer to the seiimbah of their 
young children, take their heads in their hands and say "may you be 
happy {bet nieutHali)\" Men who meet one another on the road take 
each other by the hand [inumat jarbc) in the well-known native fashion, 
sometimes adding the words "forgiveness for my sins" [iiieuah dcesa 
Ion), to which the reply is "the same on my side" [di Ion pi meunau chit). 

The visits prescribed by the adat are few in number. The man must 
at the very least go and pay the compliments of the season with due 
respect to his parents and parents-in-law, while the visits of the women 
are as a rule limited to these two. 

Visits even to the chief of their own gampong are not customary 
unless he happens to be a person of means. The heads of the mukim 
{imeums) are waited on by all their subordinate keuchi's and teungkus, 
and many of the common people as well. The latter make obeisance 
from a respectful distance, just as in an ordinary visit. Sirih is first 
served to the visitors, followed by jeumphan and other sweetmeats. 
The drinking of coffee on such occasions is quite a modern custom 
but is gradually becoming more in vogue. 

The uleebalangs are visited by few below the rank of teungkus. 
The latter with the keuchi's and imeums put in an appearance if they 
reside in the immediate neighbourhood of their chief, but neglect to 


pay such a visit is not regarded as a serious breacii of etiquette. 

The proHx ceremonial with which such feasts used to be celebrated 
at the court in the brief period of prosperity of the port-kingship, and 
to which ancient documents (the sarakatas) bear witness, has been 
long since entirely forgotten. Within living memory the rajas of Acheh 
have but very rarely taken part in public worship and all that pertains 
to it. 

On the second or third day of the month (never on the first) the 
uleebalangs in the neighbourhood of the Dalam together with some 
ulamas of distinction used to wait on the sultan during the course of 
the forenoon, on which occasion they were presented with some articles 
of dress. These visits were distinguished from other social gatherings 
of the Achehnese by the absence of all oratorical display. The Teuku 
Kali Malikon Ade, who as master of court ceremonies was on terms 
of greater intimacy with the royal family than the rest, used to come 
and present his felicitations on the actual feast day, when he as well 
as the members of the Sultan's family and his household servants, 
received a share of the royal slaughter. 

These visits and friendly meetings last about five days. During these Amusements 

. ' during the 

feast-days the men indulge to an excessive degree m gambling, strictly feast. 
forbidden though it is by the law of Islam. The village authorities, 
who on other occasions oppose such practices, or at least prevent their 
taking place within the walls of the meunasah, are wont at these times 
to shut their eyes to such transgressions. 

On the iirbe raya, the first of the month, many go to visit their 
family burial-place (bhom). This is another pious custom which is held 
in greater honour by the women than by the men. They decorate 
with flowers (jeiimpa, sciimanga and the bungbng petikan or "market- 
flowers" as they are called) the head of the tomb which they wish 
specially to honour, and burn some incense there. The more devout 
also ofter up a prayer at the sacred spot, or else recite the fdtihah, 
the Mohammedan Lord's Prayer. 

The six days fast after the feast day, the observance of which is 
recommended in the books of the law, is kept by scarcely any one 
in Acheh. In Java, where the observers of such a fast are also few 
and far between, a small feast is often held on the 8">, properly 
speaking in celebration of the end of this period of abstinence. This 
feast, breaking a fast where no fast exists, is unknown in Acheh. 



The "shut- II. Meuapi't [Dul-qa^dah). In various other native languages as well 

in mont . ^^ Achehnesc, this month is known by names which signify "pinched" 

or "shut in". The name is now generally believed ') to have originated 

in the fact that this month comes in between the two in which the 

official feasts of Islam are celebrated ^). 

On account of this "shutting in", the ii'h month is considered 
unsuitable for the undertaking of any work of importance, such as a 
marriage or circumcision etc. 
The "Great 12. Haji ( Dul-hidjah). On the lO'li day of this month the great 
^^'' sacrificial feast in connection with the Ilajj is celebrated in the valley 

of Muna (the ancient Mina), which lies to the east of Mekka. The 
books of the law recommend, though they do not imperatively prescribe, 
the holding of public prayers in other places some time after sunrise 
on this day. These prayers are followed by the sermon proper to the 
festival, and it is also considered highly meritorious to sacrifice animals. 
The two preceding days are also regarded as specially eligible for 
voluntary fasts. Those who are performing the hajj, however, do not 
usually fast, as this cannot be required of them in view of the fatigues 
of their journey. 

It is a very popular view in Java, that the feast-day of this month 
derives its significance from this identical fast '). And yet there are 
but few in Java, who submit to what is there called the antariuiyah 
and ngarpali, the fast on the days of tarwiyah and "^arafah, i. e. the 
8th and gt'i of this month. 
Three days This two-days fast is only known in Acheh among devotees, and 
f^'i^- little practised even by them, — the less so, as the feast is preceded 

by a three-days fair of the same kind as we met with in the months 
Kanduri Bu and Puasa. The 7th is jirbe peutron, the 8* urb'e pupo , the 
gih urbe seiimeusiH, and the three taken together uro'e tna'meugang. In 

1) Dr. Brandes has elucidated the original meaning of this name, which has no connection 
with the Mohammedan calendar, in a very interesting article in the Tijdschrift van hct 
Bat, Genootschap,^ vol. XLI. 

2) In Java the month has many more names than appear in the dictionary. Besides Apit 
(Sund. Hapif) = "pinched" and Sila = "interval" we find also Longtang = "interval" 
[curiously enough this word means a narrow drain or ditch in the Malay of Singapore. 
{Trans/atory\,j LSglna = naked (without any feast), Si/ih Sawal (jnsia?, RahP al-ak/iiris caWei 
Siiih Mu/iid) and Rmoah Haji (as it were the Rowah month of the month Haji, on the 
analogy of the Rowah proper which precedes the other feasting month, Sawal). 

3) Hence this day is often called Ba\ia Bcsai- meaning (the day) after the fast uf the 
month RSsar. 


this latter case there was in the Sultan's time no sranta or procla- 
mation by heralds. 

In point of animation, however, this annual fair falls far behind the 
other two. On this occasion the object of the slaughter is not, as 
before the Puasa, to supply a store of cooked meat for a couple of 
weeks; and the buying of new clothes, which is universal at the end 
of the fasting month, is not customary in the month Haji. 

The feast day itself is also a repetition on a much smaller scale of 
the urb'e raya Puasa. Very few indeed give a thought to religious 
exercises. As a general rule the men take their festival-bath in the 
morning at the meunasah, exchange handshakes with the friends whom 
they meet on the road, and pay some festal visits, at which the 
jeiimphans are in due course served to them after the sirih. Some also 
visit their family burial-places. 

Sacrifices are often offered at this feast by persons of means. The law Sacrifices. 
teaches that a single head of small cattle (goats or sheep) may serve 
as a sacrifice for one person, while seven persons may, if they so 
prefer, join in offering a single head of large cattle (oxen or camels). 
In Acheh the genus bos is generally selected for the kurubeiien (from 
the Arab qurbdn = sacrifice). As a rule oxen and not buffaloes are 
chosen in spite of the pretty general preference for the flesh of the 
latter. This is connected with the very widespread belief in the Eastern 
Archipelago, that an animal offered as a sacrifice will hereafter serve 
the sacrificer as a steed upon the "plain of the resurrection" [padang 
niachka). A goat is too small for this purpose, and a buffalo, accustomed 
as it is to wallow in mud and shallow water might inconvenience liis 
rider by walking with him into a river or ditch. 

Whoever wishes to make sacrifice, usually hands over the animal 
destined for that purpose to an ulama, that nothing may be lacking to 
the proper ceremonial, and that he who makes the offering may thus be 
assured of attaining his purpose. The animal is killed under the ulama's 
supervision, and the flesh distributed among the people of the gampong. 

Before the coming of the Dutch to Acheh, great (though in many Kurubeuen- 
respects profane) hirubcu'en feasts used to be held in the gampong of ^^^, " 
Bitay. People assembled there in crowds from the lo'h to the I3'li of 
the month Haji, and even for a couple of days longer. They came 
from the capital and the whole of the surrounding district, — • nay, all 
the sagis lent their contributions to this noisy gathering. 


We have already made acquaintance with this gampong of Bitay ') 
(which belongs to the VI Mukims of the XXV), in telling the some- 
what legendary story of the relations opened by a Sultan of Acheh 
in the i6'h century with the Sultan of Turkey, and of the artisans 
lent by the latter to his Achehnese vassal to instruct his people. The 
tomb of Tuan di Bitay, who taught the Achehnese among other things 
the art of casting cannon, and the mosque which stands beside the 
grave are revered as sacred up to the present day. It is difficult to 
conjecture why this tomb in particular is esteemed the proper place 
for offering sacrifices in the month of Haji. We only know that Bitay 
came to be regarded as the place for these sacrifices, and that the 
feasts celebrated there assumed an entirely worldly character and 
became an offence to all devout persons. Gambling, cockfighting and 
sadati-games were the chief pastimes indulged in by the people who 
crowded thither, and the fights inseparable from such pastimes were 
not wanting. Thus the word kurubeu'en acquired and still retains in the 
Achehnese vernacular the meaning of a heathenish tumult ! 

Sacrificial cattle were also slaughtered here in large numbers. The 
custom in Bitay required that all beasts brought for sacrifice should 
be slaughtered by a descendant of the local saint, who acted as the 
keeper of the tomb. At the sacrifice of each animal a number of 
articles were presented to the slaughterer on a tray [dalong], viz. — 
two raw eggs, husked and unhusked rice mixed together, the various 
things which are usually employed for the cooling {peusijiie) of a 
newly built house, or one in which a wedding has just taken place ^), 
a flask of perfumed oil, a little seureuma (the well-known black pow- 
der for the edges of the eyelids), some baja (blacking for the teeth), a 
small mirror, a comb, a razor, a sunshade and a piece of white cotton 
cloth four ells {hdili) in length. All these things, including the toilet 
requisites, were applied by the slaughterer to their proper purposes. The 
"cooling" of all hot, destructive influences he performed in the usual 
way. After shaving a little hair off the animal with the razor, he held 
the mirror before its eyes for a moment and then covered it with the 
4 ells of white cotton cloth as with a shroud. When all this had been 
done, the animal was killed; the remnants of the feast and the unused 

1) See p. 2og above. 

2) See p. 43 — ^44, 78, 103, etc. above. 


portion of the things on the tray formed part of the emoluments of 
the descendant of the sainted founder of cannon. 

In Java almost precisely the same objects as those we have just 
described as contained in the tray, are added to a sacrifice by those 
who adhere to old fashions. The teaching of Islam contains nothing of 
the kind; there must without doubt be some pre-Mohammedan ideas 
at the bottom of these curious preparations for a sacrifice. At present 
the practisers of this method have but little to adduce in explanation 
of it except the conception of the animal as the future steed of him 
who ofters the sacrifice ; but it is self-evident that though some of the 
articles mentioned might have a meaning in this connection, it would 
require strange reasoning to prove the same of others among them. 

With the exception of this busy scene at Bitay, however, the qurban 
feast, though called "the great Feast" in the book of the law, is in 
Acheh and elsewhere the least significant of all. It cannot be compared 
in importance to the feast at the end of the fast which is officially 
regarded as its inferior. 

In the month Haji in particular (though not exclusively) certain Piasans. 
gampongs club together to give a piasan (from perhiasan = ornament), 
a purely secular feast with a selection of popular pastimes differing 
according to circumstances. On such occasions a favourite amusement 
is the letting off of fireworks, and especially the construction of what 
is called "a firework fort" [kuta bimgbng apity). This is formed of the 
stem of a cocoanut tree to which are attached, at different elevations, 
square horizontal wooden frames. These frames grow smaller as they 
approach the top and are fitted with slow burning fireworks. 

§ 3. The Civil or Season Calendar. 

The Achehnese are an agricultural people; "Agriculture is the king ^^e lunar 
of all breadwinning", as their proverb has it'). Rice-growing, sugar ye" J^nd 

=■ '^ / cj u ^ Agriculture. 

cultivation, pepperplanting in the colonies of the Kast and West, as 
well as the growing of useful fruit-trees such as the cocoanut and 

l) See p. 175 above. 


arecapalm, — such arc the occupations of the great mass of the 

It must be understood that sucli a peasantry can make no use of 
their calendar of i2 lunar revolutions for the purposes of their calling, 
which is most intimately connected with the changes of the seasons. 
Each of the months of the lunar calendar of course gradually traverses 
all seasons at the rate of about 1 1 days per annum. 

Notwithstanding this (and we find the same in Java), the ordinary 
Achehnese if asked when rice is sown, will at first reply that it must 
be done in, let us say, the months of Haji and Asan-Usi'ii. He simply 
reflects that such was about the time in the last two years, and forgets 
for the moment that it was formerly otherwise. In the long run, how- 
ever, he would notice his mistake, and so he makes his calculations 
and plans for agricultural work without any help from the Mohammedan 

In most Moslim countries, indeed, there is, in addition to what we 
may call the ecclesiastical year, which follows the phases of the moon, 
a civil year which in some way or other keeps pace with the sun. 
Turkish and The Turks employ the Julian solar year, while the Arabs direct 
years ' their attention to the 28 stations of the moon, constellations which 

the moon traverses in about a solar year. The Turkish system can of 
course only be successfully carried out in a country where there is a 
more or less regulated government and an official double calendar. 
Such a thing could not be thought of in Arabia, where on the other 
hand a calendar written in the clear heavens and exhibiting fresh 
phenomena every thirteen days, is in the highest degree practical. 

Clear nocturnal skies are however indispensable for an astronomical 
knowledge on the part of the people, so comparatively widespread as to 
have made the Arabic moon-stations familiar to every one concerned. 
In the East Indian Archipelago observation of what takes place in the 
firmament is usually much impeded by cloudy skies and for a great 
part of the year quite impossible. All that has been found written in 
Indonesia on the subjects of astronomy and astrology is largely borrowed 
from foreign sources. The true popular astronomy in this part of the 
world sets to work with one or two great constellations, and the know- 
ledge of the movements of these is confined to a few individuals, who 
Orion in enlighten their fellow-villagers as far as is necessary. 

Java and his 

BeltinAcheh. Orion is well-known to the Javanese peasants, who in dift'erent 


localities give to this constellation the various names of "plough" 
[weluku or welajar), "roebuck" [kidang], "village schoolmaster" [guru 
desa) and kukiisan, the familiar conical basket in which rice is cooked 
by steaming. For the Achehnese, this constellation which they call "the 
Three Stars" [hintang Ihe'c) '), has a subsidiary meaning. They say that 
when the first of the three stars in the girdle of Orion shows brightest, 
the padi must be sown in the commencement of the time of the year 
recognized as seedtime. If the central one is the most brilliant, it 
should be sown in the middle of this period ; if the most easterly, at 
the end. They also believe that a line joining the three stars exactly 
indicates the kiblat, or direction of Mekka, to which attention has to 
be paid in the performance of prayers. This latter idea also prevails 
in Java. 

Venus is also tolerably familiar to the Achehnese, though the Venus. 
uneducated people regard her morning and evening appearances as two 
distinct stars. The learned men of the gampong know better; they call 
her in both cases the "group of nine stars," asserting that if one looks 
at Venus through a silk handkerchief (the equivalent of a telescope 
among Achehnese astronomers), one may clearly behold nine stars. 
The common folk call the morning star bintang Tiiitu (Eastern Star) 
and the evening star the star of the deer [riisa), or of the thieves 
(pancliiiri), since her uprising is the signal for both of these to go forth 
and seek their living. 

The takat simalam ^) or "sign of the night" is not, any more than 
the star of the deer and thieves, employed by the Achehnese in their 
computation of the seasons. 

The same is true of the Southern Cross, which is called "the Skate" 
(bintang paroe) and of some few other constellations which are distin- 
guished by separate names in Achehnese. 

The great regulator of the seasons in Acheh is, however, the Scorpion The Scorpion 
[bintang kala); the Pleiades, which the Achehnese call "the group of ,^g Pleiades. 
seven stars" [bintang tujoh) or "many men" [iireii'cng le), play a sup- 
plementary part. 

We may here mention, though it does not tend much to the eluci- 

i) In Java also special regard is paid to these three stars, and it is they alone that are 
understood to be comprised in the names kiJang and guru dtsa. 

2) I have been unable to discover what star they refer to by this name, as I have never 
had an opportunity of having it pointed out to me by an educated .\chehnese. 



dation of our subject, the following curious piece of nomenclature. Two 
stars in the tail of the Scorpion, standing close to and opposite each 
other, which when seen with the naked eye give the impression of 
alternately extinguishing each other's brilliancy, are called by the 
Achehnese, infatuated as they arc with a passion for fights between 
animals, by the characteristic name of puyoli nieiildt, the Fighting Quails. 
The star which forms the tip of the Scorpion's tail is called boh gUm 
or the glem fruit '), because of the conformation (called by the Achehnese 
boll glcin from its appearance) found on the tail of a real scorpion. 
ITie keu- The Achehnese .sea.sons, then, arc regulated by the conjunctions of 
Kala {Scorpion) ivitli the moon. 

These conjunctions they call keunong (Mai. kena) i.e. "hit", "come 
into contact with". They have found a certain guiding principle in the 
number of days that always separates the new moon from the succeeding 
kcunbng or in other w'ords (since the Mohammedan months begin with the 
new moon), in the sequence of the dates on which these keunongs take place. 

Let us begin by giving certain data with regard to these keunongs 
and the intervals that separate them from the night of the new moon, 
borrowed not from Achehnese sources, but from particulars kindly 
supplied by Dr. S. Figee at Batavia '^). Dr. Figee's calculations are based 
on the supposition that Antares, the brightest star of the Scorpion, 
is that specially selected for observation, so that the coincidence of 
that star with the moon would be regarded as kcunbng. As a matter 
of fact the Achehnese do not confine themselves to a single star, but 
speak of keunong whenever the moon appears anywhere within the 
Scorpion. Indeed they sometimes employ the expression, when it con- 
tributes to the uniformity of their series of numbers, even though the 
Moon and Scorpion may have already diverged to some little distance 
from one another. But all such differences are, as we shall see, of 
trifling importance, and do not affect the computation of the seasons 
by more than a day or two on one side or the other. 
of°Th""keu' Between every two successive keunongs ^) there is an interval of 

i) The glem-plant is the Coix lacryma called yV?/; watii in Javanese. The seeds are strung 
together to form necklaces. 

2) I am greally indebted to both Dr. J. P. van der Stok and Dr. S. Figee for the help 
they have frequently been so good as to give me in elucidating my data as regards the 
Achehnese astronomical system. 

3) We must be understood here as using the word to mean the point of time when the 
right ascension of Antares, a star in the scorpion, is the same as that of the moon. 


27'/3 days, so that on an average 13.363 keunongs occur in the course 
of the solar year, or in other words, most solar years contain 13, some 
14 keunongs. The interval separating the keunong from the preceding 
new moon is greatest in tlic first month of our solar year. In the course 
of the following months this interval decreases constantly by two or 
three days at a time, since the actual lunar month (from one new 
moon to the next) is always 2 to 3 days {29.5302 — 27.3333) longer 
than the period which elapses between two keunongs. In November 
the difterence is smallest ; in other words the keunong almost coincides 
with the new moon, while the following keunong just precedes it, so 
that the difference is then a minus quantity. 

We append a table showing the dates of the keunongs occurring in 
the years 1892 and 1893, with the interval between each of these 
keunongs and the new moon that preceded it. 

The keu- 
nongs and 
their lunar 
dates in 1892 
and 1893. 

Dates of the keunongs. 








































Interval between the keunongs and 
the preceding new moon '). 


As the next new moon falls on 
the 19"! December, the diffe- 
rence should here be denoted 
by — 2, or if this keunong is 
compared with the same new 
moon as its predecessor, by 28. 

l) Fractions of under '/j a day are neglected; those of over '/■, ^ day are counted as a 
whole day. 


Dates of tlic keuntSngs. 

Interval between thu keuiiongs and 
the preceding new moon. 




















































As th 

As the new moon falls on the 
S'li December, the difference 
should here be denoted by — i 
or if this keunong is compared 
with the same new moon as 
its predecessor, by 28. 

Both years have thus 1 3 keunongs. Where the first keunong falls 
on one of the first days in January, as in 1886 (i^t Jan.) or 1891 
(/til Jan.) there arc 14 in one solar year. 

It will be noticed that the column showing the intervals separating 
the new moons from the keunongs which succeed them, exhibits a 
fairly uniform decrease. The greatest interval varies in different years 
from 24 — 27 and the smallest from o — 2. This minumum interval is 
succeeded by a minus quantity and then again by a maximum, after 
which the series descends as before. 

If we date the keunongs according to the months of our own calen- 
dar, this uniformity is of course not so obvious as if we use the 
Mohammedan notation of time. In order to convert our series of inter- 
vals into Mohammedan dates, we have only to bear in mind the two 
following circumstances. First, that the Mohammedan month begins 
with the visible new moon, thus one to two days later than the new 
moon of our almanac; secondly, that while the day of the new moon 


is in the above list reckoned as =: o, the Mohammedan month has no 
day that can be designated by a cypher, the day of its new moon being 
indicated by the figure i. If we recollect this we may without much chance 
of error employ the following rule. To find approximately the Mohamme- 
dan dates on which keunongs fall, add i to the numbers given above 
as representing the intervals between the new moon and the keunong. 

These are the data used by the Achehnese in describing the keunongs; 
they further indicate the date of each keunong by appending it to the 
name of the Mohammedan month in which it occurs. Suppose we say, 
for instance, "It is now the month of Sapha", this merely means that 
it is the second month of the religious (lunar) year, and that for the 
present there are no feasts to be looked forward to except the Rabu 
Abeh. But if we add the words "keunong n", it is then pretty gene- 
rally understood that in this year the moon and Scorpion coincide on 
or about the iith of Sapha. Even he who does not grasp this, still 
comprehends that the time for sowing padi is at hand, just as at home 
both townsman and peasant knows that the dog-days bring hot weather, 
although they may be unable to determine the actual date of that 
period of the year. 

At the same time the Achehnese allow themselves a certain latitude 
in computing the keunongs, which facilitates their use. According to 
the list we have given, the Achehnese keunongs in our year 1892 
would in theory fall successively on the following dates in their (the 
Mohammedan) months : 

26, 24, 22, 19, 17, 15, 13, II, 9, 7, 4, 2. 
For 1893 the sequence would be: 

27, 24, 22, 20, 18, 16, 14, 12, 10, 7, 5, 3. 

From each of these series the last terms (29 and 30 respectively) are 
omitted, since these keunongs fall within the same lunar months as 
their predecessors and are at the same time entirely invisible, as the 
moon does not appear at the end of the month. Thus the Achehnese 
omit this 1 3th keunong in their computation, going on the theory that 
there is but one keunong in each month, but that once in the year 
two keunongs are separated by an interval double as long as that 
which ordinary separates these conjunctions. This specially long interval 
is called kcKitbiig tangglle , an expression the origin of which is no 
longer known. Some connect it with /««_i,'-_g-/7£7// = the armadillo, asserting 
that this animal can only be caught during the period in question. 


It is evident thit the appellations of the remaining 12 keunongs 
taken from the exact dates on which they fall in the lunar calendar, 
will differ little from year to year, though they will not be wholly 
identical. Thus the keunong which in 1892 would be described as 26, 
would properly be called 27 in 1893 and so on. As the keunongs are 
not by any means always capable of actual observation on account of 
the clouded state of the sky, the need is felt of a more fixed and 
regular arrangement, and one which can be easily remembered. For 
example, where actual observation is impossible there must be some 
means of knowing that it is now keunong 21, because it was keunong 23 
in the preceding month. 
The Acheh- The Achehnese therefore assume — with full knowledge of the in- 
serU:s^"°"°^ accuracy thej' are committing — that the figure representing the lunar 
date of each keunong is less by exactly two than that of its predecessor. 
They invariably begin their series of keunongs with 23, so that all 
keunongs, according to their mode of expression fall on uneven dates. 
Of this they sometimes give a peculiar explanation. They assume that 
Christian and other non-Mohammedan peoples also reckon by keunongs, 
and that their keunongs always fall on odd dates. Some choice must 
be made, and as neither of the two conduces to accuracy, the Achehnese 
have chosen the uneven, both because the sacred tradition recommends 
all true Moslims to distinguish themselves as far as possible in all 
matters from the unbelievers, and also because Allah is regarded as 
having a special preference for odd numbers '). 

The inaccuracy of this keunong series (23, 21, 19, 17, 15, 13, ii, 9, 
7, 5, 3, i) hardly at all impairs the true purpose of the reckoning by 
keunongs, i. e. the knowledge of the seasons. It even often happens 
that the keunong is actually observed on a date which is theoretically 
incorrect, owing to the fact that the whole constellation is made the 
basis of the observation, instead of Antares or some other special star 
within it. And when the moon docs not enter the Scorpion at all on 
the accepted date, but passes some little distance from it, this is ascri- 
bed to the errors consequent on the adoption of a scries which dimi- 
nishes in too uniform a manner. They are thus content with the average 
agreement between what they actually observe in the heavens and their 

I) There is a sacred tradition of Islam ".Mlah is uneven (for he is One) and he loveth 
the uneven". 


keunong series '). These periods can be distinguished by the numerals 
of their lunar dates and each of them constantly falls in the same 
season of the year. 

To every lunar year there are almost precisely 13 keunongs. Thus 
by neglecting the invisible one, which would properly be called 28, 
29 or 30, and which falls in the great interval between keunongs i 
and 23, we get exactly one keunong for each lunar month. This makes 
the calculation extremely easy, but it is obvious that as we advance 
we shall in time arrive at a month in which the keunong we obtain 
by observation falls on a different date from that which the series 
would lead us to expect. It is in fact at the end not of a lunar, but 
a solar year, that the keunongs revert to nearly the same interval of 
time separating them from the preceding new moon. By continually 
counting off the Achehnese keunong series with the months of the 
lunar year, we neglect the difference between the average number of 
keunongs contained in a solar year (13.363) and the number contained 
in a lunar year (13 exactly). Thus about once in three years, — as often 
in fact as the keunong phenomenon exhibits itself 14 times in a solar 
year, we must count one keunong more than usual so as not to come 
into conflict with the calendar of the solar year which we find written 
on the heavens in terms of keunongs. 

This necessary correction is made by the Achehnese in a purely Adjustment 
empirical manner, for they have, at present at least, no proper basis jj^g series, 
of calculation whatever, — indeed they do not even understand the 
real meaning of the keunong-calculation ^). They notice of course at 
certain times, that the keunongs of their series move faster than the 
real ones. As the observed sequence also fails in other respects to 
correspond exactly with the principles on which their series is based, 
they can fix no stated time at which the divergence of the two beco- 
mes excessive and calls for correction; one observes it earlier, another later. 

1) One of my informants told me that the series based on actual observation of the 
heavens would be as follows: 28, 26, 23, 21, 18, 16, 13, II, 8, 6, 3, I. We have seen 
that the series does not remain constant for every year, and if one particular star be taken 
as the basis of the calculation, the series supplied by ray informant will never be absolutely 
correct for any one given year. 

2) The most expert of my informants, who clearly understood that the customary correc- 
tion of the keunong computation is actually based on a different year from the ordinary 
lunar year, entirely failed to grasp the fact thas this was really the solar year, and suppo- 
sed it to be one composed of 360 days. 


For instance, the fact that the period known as keunong 13 does 
not properly terminate till the 15'h of the month would not be held to 
justify a correction if there were an approximate conjunction of the 
moon and Scorpion on, say, the 14111. But if it were seen that the 
heavens themselves persistently belied the sequence of the keunong 
dates by two days or even more, then two consecutive months would 
be counted as keunong 9 or keunong 7 as the case might be, and the 
sequence would thus be rectified. Thus the expression keunong 23, as 
employed by the Achehnese, almost corresponds to our January, 
keunong 21 to our February and so on. Eacli of these names suggests 
to them the recurrence of certain definite natural phenomena which 
are wont to exhibit themselves during the keunong in question, of 
definite tasks of agriculture or navigation whose performance is limited 
to that time, and of certain feasts which arc held therein. 
The Acheh- We shall now give as a specimen the list of keunongs for our year 
cakndar"fof '^93 C-^^ Mohammedan 1310 — 11) according to Achehnese nomencla- 
theyeaii893. ture, adding in each case the European and Mohammedan month in 
which the keunong falls. It should be carefully borne in mind that the 
correspondence of the European months with the keunongs as here 
given holds good in other years as well, but that the Mohammedan 
months move one place lower down about every 3 years, the variation 
being corrected by applying the same keunong to two successive months. 
We shall also add notes illustrative of the ideas of the Achehnese 
jn regard to the various keunongs. One or two of these require closer 
explanation which we shall give presently when dealing with the sub- 
jects of agriculture and fishery. The Achehnese lore on the subject of 
the keunongs of course holds good for all years alike. 
1893 (=1310 — -11 of the Hijrah) 
I. [Keunong dua ploh Ihce (23d Jumada '1-akhir 1310) = 12'h January. 
Padi which has not yet fully ripened at this keunong is in 
danger, for a dry E. S. E. wind [angen timii padang) usually blows 
during the nights of keunong 23, causing the husks to burst open 
and shaking out the grain. 

Although this keunong belongs to the inushn tiniu (N. E. 
Monsoon), when it is dangerous to sail from the capital to the 
N. or E. coast, it contains a period of from 5 to 7 days during 
which the voyage can be undertaken without risk, a sort of 
interval in the N. E. Monsoon. 


II. Keunong dua ploh sa (21st Rajab 1310) = 8tl» February. 

In this keunong the padi-harvest generally takes place and 
the kanduri blang ("religious feast of the field") is held. This is 
also the time for the sowing or planting of intermediate crops 
(such as tobacco, vegetables etc.). 

In this or the following keunong begins the musem Indih blang 
("season of the freedom of the land" i. e. when it is allowed to 
lie fallow) ; it is thus the end of the musem piche or kbt blang 
(the season when the land is "cooped" or closed). 

III. KeunoJig sikiireueng blaih (i9'l» .Sha"^ban 1310) = 8th March. 

The month in which this keunong falls is much the same as 
the last from the season point of view. 

IV. Keunong tujoh blaih (i/'h Ramadhan i3io)=4'h April. 

Sugar cane planted in this month blossoms but yields no 
juice. During this and the two following months the fish known 
as hiloh occasionally descend from the upper reaches of the river 
to near the sea. These fish take one day to come down and 
two to return upstream, and at this time it is possible to 
catch them. 

A kanduri Uiot (sea-kanduri) takes place in this month at 
Ulee Iheue (vulg. Olehleh ; cf X below.). The beginning of the 
Musem barat or S. W. Monsoon also falls within this month, 
and so does the maximum altitude of the sun at noon [seuuang 
mata iirbe ; it actually occurs on the Sib April. 
V. Keunong limbng blaih (15'h Shawwal 1310) = 2ntl May. 

Some begin ploughing in this month. Stormy weather prevails 
at sea. 
VI. Keunong Ihec blaih {\i^^ Dul-qa"'dah 1310) = 29th May'). 

This is the month in which ploughing is universally commenced. 
It marks the termination of the musem ludih blang (cf. II above) 
and the beginning of the musem piche or kbt blang which lasts 
about 8 months. 
VII. Keunbng siblaih (iith Dul-hidjah i3io) = 26t'i June. 

In this month or in one of the two which succeed it, the 
padi is sown. As we have seen above (p. 247) there are some 

l) It is understood that the occurrence of two keunongs in the month of May is peculiar 
to the year 1S93; in 1892 this happened in August. 


who make their choice of the first, second or tliird part of this 
seedtime dependent on the relative brightness of the three stars 
composing Orions belt {bintang Ihe'e). 

Just as the N. E. wind slumbers for 5 — 7 days in keunong 23, 
so does the S. W. wind in this; during these days it is safe to 
sail from the cajjital to the West Coast. 
VIII. Keunong sikurciicng (9"> Muharram 131 1) = 23d July. 

During this and the following month a certain species of land- 
crabs, called bieng kong, "stray" about, apparently unable to find 
their subterranean abodes; bicng-kong wo, the people say. 
IX. Keunong tujoh (7'h Safar I3ii) = 20''i August. 

Sugar-cane planted in this month is supposed to give the same 
results as we have noted above in the case of keun6ng 17. Dogs 
ramble at this period [asee tneiiseutet). The sun at noon reaches 
his greatest altitude for the second time {seunang inata urbe). 
X. Keunong limbng (5111 Rabf al-awwal 1311)^ i6tl> September. 

In this keunong the muscm tiniu (N. E. Monsoon) commences, 
and the second division of the seine-fishers (v. sub IV above) 
celebrate their kanduri la^ot or sea kanduri. 
XI. Keunong Ihee (3d Rabf al-akhir 1311)= 14111 October. 

In this keunong begins the most favourable time for the voyage 
from the capital to the West Coast. This period lasts till about 
keun6ng 17. 
XII. Keunong sa (i^t Jumada '1-awwal) = ii'h November. 

This keunong owes its sole recognition to the fact that it 
must necessarily follow on keunong 3 in order to maintain the 
regular sequence. It is not observable, since sun and moon then 
both stand in the Scorpion. The heavy rains commence in this 
keun6ng; a very popular comparison is that of any terrifying 
noise with the rain of the keunong sa [ban ujeuen keunong sa). 

In December the conjunction of Scorpion and the moon takes 
place just before the new moon (7* Dec.; new moon, 8'h Dec). It 
is thus incapable of observation, and is besides separated by 
another keunong {keunong sa) from the preceding new moon. It 
is thus excluded from the Achehnese reckoning. It is cither 
entirely disregarded, the period from the first of Jumada '1-awwal 
(or of some other month in other years) to the 23d of the fol- 
lowing month being considered as having no keun6ng; or else 


it is called kciinbiig tanggilc (see p. 251 above). It forms part 
of the rainy season. 

As a subsidiary object of astromical or meteorological observation 
the Achehnese employ the Pleiades, the "group of seven stars" which 
they say now consists of six only, since one of the seven fell from the 
sky in olden times. 

There is a well-known Malay pantun which runs as follows: 
"Seven stars, six only now remain. 
"One has fallen into Manjapahit. 
"Athirst is my body as though I had fever, 
"Increased still more by (other) sickness" '). 

These "Seven Stars" or "Many people" are well adapted occasionally 
to replace the Scorpion, as their place in the heavens is directly 
opposite that constellation and they are thus often visible when obser- 
vation of Kala is rendered impossible through the scorpion being below 
the horizon, or difficult owing to a partially clouded sky. 

When the Pleiades set at about the same time as the sun, this is 
according to the Achehnese a sign of bad weather at sea. This happens 
in keunong 15, that is to say in May. 

When this constellation rises very early in the morning (as is the 
case in the beginning of July, i. e. about keunong 1 1 or 9), then the 
favourable time for the sowing of the pad! has begun. The conclusion 
of seedtime on the other hand is denoted by the Pleiades having 
already at early dawn reached an altitude which is defined as follows: 
if one who, at about 5 A. M., points exactly in the direction of the 
Pleiades, has to raise his arm so high that the bracelets rattle on his 
wrist, then seedtime is over. 

The Prophet of old forbade the heathen Arabs to say, "we have 
got rain from this or that constellation," as there lurks in this saying 
a depreciation of God's omnipotence. In like manner pious Achehnese 
are wont to admonish their fellow-countrymen against regarding the 
kcunongs as the cause of drought and rain. P"or all that they recognize 
that it is Allah's established custom to cause a definite state of the 

I) Biitlattg ttijoh tlnggal anam 

Jatoh sabiji di Manjapahit. 
Alls tiiboh sarasa dlmant 
Lagi iambah dlngan penyakil. 
The last two Hoes, which contain the poet's meaning, foim the comphiint of a languish- 
ing lover. 



weather to recur after a definite number of k-eun6ngs, and they gene- 
rally guide their conduct accordingly. 

There is a very widespread belief that if it begins to rain in any 
month before the keunong, such rain will not prove continuous, but 
will pass oft" in mere showers. Should it however rain heavily on the 
day after the keunong [iijeiit-n atciieh keiDieunbng -= "■\.\\& rain above the 
conjunction") then it is said that it will continue the whole month through. 

§ 4- Agriculture, Tenths and Sugarcane Planting 

The seasons We have now become acquainted with the Achehnese year as 

in connection -ri • i ii ... 

with agiicul- rneasured by seasons. Ihis we shall now pass once more m review m 

'"'^^' order to examine its relations with Achehnese agriculture. With this 

in view, let us commence with keunong 2i, (February of our year) 

when the rice harvest generally ends and the iniisan limih l>langhe^\n?,. 

The mus^m What is known in Acheh as blang is a network of adjoining rice- 

luaih blang. /-i,,,, r- i-iii _ i 

nelds, all those ior instance which belong to one gampong; — the 
"open fields" as we might call them. Lands which used to form rice- 
fields, but which have gradually been rendered too brackish for culti- 
vation by the invasion of salt water, are also called "blang." 

On the other hand, sawahs ') situated in swampy land are called 
simply faya (= "the swamp") or biicng in the specially swampy district 
known as the VII Mukims Bueng -). 

In tiie lowlands, where the whole country has been reclaimed by 
man, uncultivated fields or plains are seldom to be seen, but in the 
highlands there are many such. These are called padaug, and belong 
like the blang to definite gampongs, though the rights which those who 
live in their vicinity can exercise in them, are not confined to a single 
gampong, but extend over the whole mukim. 
Public right The rice-fields {imibng) of the inhabitants of a given gampong are 
ang. ^j^^g usually to be found in the blang of that gampong. When the rice- 
harvest is over, however, the whole blang becomes for the time more 
or less the common property of the gampong, and every one may let 

1) Sawah is the Malay word for rice-fields used in the Southern parts of the Peninsula 
(Johor, Malacca etc.) and also in Java. In Penang, Province Wellesley, Kedah etc. the word 
is '^bUdang." {Translator). 

2) Bueng also means the terracing of sawahs made on the slopes of hills. 


his cattle loose to graze there. The owner of an umong may Indeed 
employ this land for intermediary crops and protect his plantations by 
running a fence round them. Should he neglect this last precaution, no 
attention will be paid to complaints on his part against persons whose 
cattle have destroyed his property. 

On the other hand the rule is very strict in regard to the depreda- 
tions of cattle from the moment the padi is sown until the harvest is 
complete. If an animal trespasses during that period on a ricefield, the 
owner of the latter has the right to get rid of it without giving any 
warning, not by slaughtering it in the ritual manner, which would make 
it fit for food, but by running it through with a spear or cutting oft' 
one of its hoofs or the like. This happens pretty frequently and thus 
everyone must look carefully after his cows and bullocks and buff'aloes 
for the 8 months, more or less, during which "the land is closed'' 
uiuscm piche or kbt blang. This harsh rule protects the padifields, which 
would otherwise be exposed to constant danger through carelessness 
or malice. 

Gardens and other tilled enclosures do not require such protection. 
If an animal is so wild as to cause actual damage to the fences, then 
the person aggrieved must first warn its owner. The latter can then 
easily take measures to prevent a repetition of the trespass; but should 
he fail to do so, he too must expect that some angry cultivator will 
one day render the offending animal harmless for good and all. 

The iniishn litdili blang, the period of the year when the land stands Supeistiti- 
open to men and cattle, is also the appointed time for the setting up ^oQ'"^^i°^°'he 

of tomb-stones [piila haCcL), for the burning of lime [tot gapu) and in agricultural 

the highlands for the piercing of the ears of young girls [fob glunyiicng). 

It is generally believed that the rice of a whole field would be spoilt 

if tombstones were erected on the graves of departed relatives, or lime 

burnt in its neighbourhood, during the period between seedtime and 

harvest. It is also thought that the holes in the ears would never 

attain the luidtli desired by the Achehnese women, if made during the 

time when the ground is '^narroiv", or "■closed". 

In the beginning of the 7nusim liidih blang every gampong holds on The field- 
a day fixed by its authorities, its kanduri blang or field-feast. This 
religious feast is intended to assure the continuance of the prosperity 
of the common land which has just yielded its harvest. 

The viands for this feast, such as rice, meat etc, are brought together 


by voluntary contributions [ripe) on the part of the inhabitants of the 
gampong. The men generally assemble in the fields in the afternoon ; 
a malcm consecrates with a prayer the kanduri, whicli then proceeds 
without further preliminaries. 
The pepper Besides rice cultivation, the "king of all brcadwinning", peppcr-plan- 

kanduii. y r \ 

ting is also honoured in Acheh by annual kanduris. The Achehnese 
account for the origin of pepper by a legend similar to that which is 
current among the Arabs in regard to coftee. Some goats" dung sown 
by a saint grew up into the first trees which bore the delicious pro- 
duct of Mokha ; while the first pepper-plants grew from the seeds of 
kapok ') (paitjoc) planted by an Achehnese saint. It is supposed to be 
for this reason that they are propagated by the planting of cuttings 
instead of sowing. In honour of this saint, called Teungku Lam 
Peuneu'eun from the gampong in the IX Mukims where his tomb is, 
the kanduri bungong lada is annually celebrated on the East and West 
Coasts when tlie pepper blossoms. This however is not made the 
occasion of a public gathering, the feast being held separately in the 
house of each pepper-planter. Both for this reason and also because 
the pepper-plants do not all blossom at the same time, the period of 
these kanduris lasts as long as three months. The constituents of the 
feast are glutinous rice and its accessories. In a single house as much 
as a naleh -) of this rice is prepared. 
Intenncdiaiy To return to the musem luaih blang. It is of course during this period 
that the growing of intermediary crops takes place. These consist 
chiefly of jagong (maize), vegetables and sugarcane. This last, if grown 
on a large scale, is planted in gardens to make sugar and molasses 
{iiiciilisan). During the four months while the "land is open" the cane 
has not time to reach its full growth. Thus canes planted in the rice- 
fields are cut, in whatever stage of growth they may be, just before 
the ploughing time, and consumed in their unmanufactured state. 
Ploughing. Keun6ngs 15, 13 and 11, but especially the last two, are the time 
for the ploughing [meiiuc] of the rice-fields. 

A rectangular rice-field surrounded on all sides by little banks 
[ateu'eng) is called mnbng; it consists of one or more (though rarely 

i) Known to the Malays of the Peninsula as hahu-kabii or k'chabii. The pods of this tree 
contain a substance resembling cotton, which is much used in stuftlng pillows etc. The seeds 
resemble pepper in size and colour. ( Tianslaloi'). 

2) See p. 201 above. 


more than two) yd'. A yo', which is also used to signify the yoke of a 
ploughing buffalo, is the surface measure generally used for rice-fields, 
but its precise area is not accurately defined. It is assumed that a yo' 
is really a piece of land requiring a naleh of seed, but if an um6ng is 
smaller, so much as even to take only half a nalch, it is still called 
uuibiig siyd'== one yo' of rice-land. Measurements of i8 different yo's 
taken in the territory of the XXVI Mukims gave results varying from 
about iSoo to about 3500 square metres. 

The padi-lands in Acheh proper, where not in swampy ground, are Dependence 
almost all what is called in Java saivah tadalian, i. c. they are fed by rice-fields ^on 
rainwater which they catch and hold by means of the little banks '^'^ '■^'°- 
which surround them '). Rivers and streams are very rarely used for 
ricecultivation in Acheh, though they generally are in Pidie. 

Ploughing is accompanied by no religious ceremony. All that is done Lucky days, 
is to select a favourable day for commencing the work; the 6th, \2^ ^ 
i6"i, i^th^ 22nd and 26th of the month are considered the best. The 
6th is especially lucky, unless it happens to fall on a Friday, which 
day it is pantang, or strictly forbidden by the adat, to devote to 
agricultural labour. On the West Coast Wednesday is pantang for 
pepper-planting as well as rice-cultivation. 

The ploughing of an umong usually takes about 10 days, since after 
the first turning up of the ground it is allowed to rest for some days 
to kill the weeds that have been uprooted. The Achehnese plough {langay) 
(see pag. 262) has an extremely long handle [go) and a very short plough- 
share [niata). The buffalo is harnessed to it by means of a yoke (j'o') which 
is connected with the plough on the left side by a pole of aren-wood 
[cIl], and on the right by a rope [taVo'e Hnggang or dliam). The cries 
of objurgation and encouragement which the ploughman addresses to 
his buffalo are exceedingly loud and frequent, so that any one standing 
some little distance off might imagine them to proceed from a crowd. 

The method of sowing the padi is not the same in all places. The tabu 
Throughout a large part of the country the method known as tabu or ""^ ' 
tabu due is followed. This practically amounts to sowing out the seed 
[bijcli] at once on the field, instead of in a nursery in the first instance. 

i) It is the same in the Malay peninsula, where the banks (batas) surround fields of a 
size which varies to suit the convenience of the owner. There is here however a hard and 
fast land measure I sq. orlong (= about i ' acre) = 400 sq. jumbas = 400 X 144 sq. feet. 
The oilong and jumba are also used as lineal measures. (^Translator). 


The following reasons are given for the more general popularity of 

this method. The crop being entirely dependent on the rain, there 


would be the danger of the seedlings in the nursery dying just as they 
were ready to be planted out, if the rain delayed too long. The con- 
tinued absence of rain is less fatal to seedlings which do not require 
transplantation. It is further said that the padi in the ta/>/i fields thrives 
as a rule much better than that which is first sown in the nursery 
even under favourable circumstances. In regard to this however wc 
must not forget that where the Achehnese employ the nursery system, 
they plough the fields in a much more slovenly manner than they do 
in the case of the tabu lands. 

Under the tal>ii system more seed is required than in the nursery 
process; the proportion is according to the Achehnese i6 — 20 : 12. 

Tal>u ') literally means to 'strew', "scatter abroad," and refers to the 
sowing of the crop, which takes place immediately after the ploughing. 

l) Mai /aior "to scatter," "strew." {Translator). 


The rules which govern its initiation are the same as in the case of 
the latter. The work is begun — as all matters of importance should 
be in accordance with the tradition - — with a beseinnelah (= Arab. 
bisinillali, "In the name of Allah"). The first handful of seed is scattered 
in a westerly direction, the point toward which the faithful turn their 
faces at the time of prayer. 

After the seed is strewn, the earth is raked over it with a large 
wooden rake [chreiieh). This implement has no handle in the centre. 
A piece of wood is fixed vertically to either end and the tips of these 
two pieces are united by a third placed horizontally. This last is called 
the handle [go), and is held by the driver, the rake being drawn by 
a buffalo harnessed to it in the same way as to the plough. 

Rice sown according to the tabu system is csW&d, pade teiinabu (scattered 
padi or rather padi obtained through scattering) or padi due ("sitting 
padi," i. e. such as does not require transplanting). About two or three 
months after sowing, the sprouting padi must be thinned out [llidih, 
seumeuldih) where it is too thick, and supplemented where it is sown 
too thin. This task falls in or about keunongs 5 and 3. 

In this method of sowing the extirpation of weeds (eunipoc) is both 
tedious and trying. The ground is already dry at the time of the 
sowing and first sprouting of the seed, and so quickly becomes quite 
hard, rendering it impossible to get rid of the weeds without first 
turning up the soil in which they grow with a tukoy (a kind of small 
pachul or changkul). 

The second method, which is adopted in a portion of the highlands. The pula 
and occasionally in the lowlands, in the IV Mukims and with certain ^^^ "^'"' 
modifications in swampy districts such as the VII Mukims Bueng, 
consist of two parts. These are 1°. the preparation of a nursery bed 
(llicue), ') in which the seed [bijih] is strewn [tabu] to obtain seedlings 
or pade seuneulong. The padi obtained in this way is zaWed pade peunula 
or planted padi in opposition to the above-named pade tcunabu or 
sown padi. 

)) Malay simai. The method here described is that always resorted to by the Malays in 
wet rice cultivation. They cleat the weeds out with an implement called a tajai^ which 
resembles a golfer's lofting iron with the iron part enormously exaggerated and the handle 
m.ade shorter and stouter. The weeds are left on the ground to rot and form a kind of 
manure. The plants when taken from the siinai are dibbled with the hand into water-covered 
ground at intervals of about 6 inches. {Translator). 


Where the ground is swampy this method is generally followed, 
since if the seed were scattered in the swamp it would never mature. 
It is also adopted for convenience sake by some of those whose rice- 
fields are entirely dependent on the rain. In so doing they run the 
risk of the rain delaying its coming longer than usual, so that the padi 
cannot be transplanted from the nursery to the field at the proper 
time and is thus lost altogether. 

Accordingly they prepare their nurseries as late as possible. If all 
goes well, the subsequent task of weeding proves very easy; the weeds 
are simply pulled out with the hand {uruiih) from the soft ground. They 
are thus saved the tedious work of the euinpoc. 

Others are compelled to adopt the seuneulong system owing to their 
being prevented by the force of circumstances from sowing {tabu) a 
long time before the rainy season. 

The sowing in the nursery is done in the same way as that in the 

field. The interval between this sowing and the planting out depends 

of course on the rate of growth of the seedlings and the presence of 

water on the umong or rice-field. They endeavour if possible to plant 

out on the 44>li day after the sowing. With this we may compare the 

"removal of the oven" {bbih dapu) 44 days after child-birth and the 

setting up of the tombstone 44 days after death ; indeed a special 

value is universally attached to that number. 

„ At the commencement of the planting out of the padi, due regard 

observed at is paid to the superstitious usage of the pciisijiic or cooling, which 
planting out 
of the padi. forms among the Achehnese the accompanmient of a whole host ot 

important acts and undertakings. For the cooling of the um6ng they 

employ leafy fronds of the pineung (betel-nut palm) and the plants 

called mane manoe and sisijiie '), which are tied together and soaked 

in flour and water {teupong taweue), to besprinkle the centre of the 

rice-field. After this is done, the green besom is planted right in the 

middle of the umong. Some omit the sprinkling of flour and water, 

and simply plant the bundle of boughs in the centre. Both methods 

alike are known as piiphon padi', the commencement or inauguration 

of the padi. 

They then begin planting from the centre outwards, after having 

l) The nalcti'cng sambo and bayam Itiba^ employed in other ceremonies of "cooling," are 
not used for the rice-field. Further notes on cooling will be found in Chap. Ill § I. 


first of all uttered the indispensable beseumelah ("In the name of Allah"). 
As they plant they follow the direction of the wind. The newly planted 
padi is supposed in this way to acquire the requisite slant, which is 
regarded as a guarantee of its shooting up straight and strong later on. 

The pula-season falls in keunongs 5 and 3, or sometimes, when the 
rain is unusually late, in keunong i. 

A custom the meaning of which has been wholly forgotten, but The inong 
which is still pretty generally followed, is that of planting in a clump 
in the umong a handful of the seedlings remaining over in the nursery 
after the planting out is completed. This is called inbng pade. The word 
inbiig in modern Achehnese means "woman," "female," but sundry 
expressions in the folk lore indicate that it must have also had in 
ancient times the signification of "mother." In all large herds of buffaloes 
or oxen and flocks of goats or poultry, there is usually one, tamer 
than the rest, which acts as leader of the flock. This is called the 
inbng and is never sold or slaughtered, for that would bring ill-luck 
to the rest '). If a gold-washer finds in a stream a nugget somewhat 
resembling a living creature in shape, he keeps it as inbng ineiiih, 
convinced that it will bring him luck in his subsequent quest for gold. 
So also with those who prepare the famous healing draught made from 
the root of the peundang; when a piece of root of similar form is 
found it is called by them inbng peundang. In like manner the inbng pade 
though it is of course unable to attain its proper growth owing to its being 
planted together in a clump, probably had the same significance for the 
growth of the padi, though it has now gradually faded from the popular 
mind. One is involuntarily reminded of the in dung pare ov '^x'ice.-vaoX.hQv" 
of the Sundanese, a truss of ripe padi taken at harvest time and fastened 
together in a peculiar way. It is placed in the padi-store underneath 
all the other trusses with sundry traditional ceremonies, and is not 
removed from its place till the lapse of time has made it undisting- 
uishable from the rest -). 

On swampy ground the tabu-system cannot be applied, and a nursery Kice in 
must be made in a somewhat drier spot close by. When time presses, „,.q""j'^^ 
the system is modified as follows. The seed is wetted and spread out 

1) Among fowls, one such as the above is called ino>ig maiiy\ the name ma/ii'' inoiig 
being given to one that has begun to lay. 

2) In ancient Achehnese poems a hero is sometimes called iitong in the sense of "chief" 
of a great tribe," 


on mats or plantain leaves, which are also kept wet, and in this way 
it sprouts in two or three days. This sprouting seed is then spread out 
[raleu'c or laraic) on a comparatively dry piece of the swampy ground, 
whicli is called Ihcu'c lareuc or spreading nursery. To promote quick 
growth, a little water is occasionall)- let into the nursery, and as soon 
as the plants are big enough they are planted out in the swamp. 

I.adangs. Ladaiigs (hill plantations) are opened in the forests of the highlands 

and especially of the East and West Coasts, in order to make the 
ground suitable for pepper-planting by a years rice-cultivation. Besides 
padi and pepper, sugarcane, champli (chilis), onions, etc. are planted 
in these ladangs. The padi-planting is here done by means of dib- 
bling [tajo, teumajo') '). The trees are first felled and burned, and 
all roots so big as to cause obstruction are cleared out in a rough 
and ready manner. Then, as .soon as the ground has been somewhat 
softened by the first rains, deep dibble-holes are made, some seed is 
thrown into each of them, and the padi is thinned out later if it grows 
too thick. 

Enemies of A watch is kept all day long against various kinds of rice-birds 

tli6 vice, 

[ttild, miri'e). Scarecrows rudely representing the human form (iircurng- 
ureitcng or ptiiyakot) '-) are hung up in the fields, or a cord is stretched 
and dry plantain leaves [on krtisong) hung on it and kept in motion 
by constant pulls. 

Other enemies of the ripening rice are the field mouse [tikoih) and 
the foul-smelling insect called geusbng{^^ walang sangit). Charms written 
on paper [ajcumat] are used as a defence against both the above ; the 
papers are inserted in a hollow bamboo [bidoh), which is fixed in the 
middle of the um6ng. The prayers employed for these charms are 
called tangkay tikoih and tangkay geusbng. 

Before the war, wild pig were rarely to be seen in the lowlands, 
owing to the absence of cover. In the highlands on the other hand, a 

1) The Malays plant hill-padi in the same \yay. The process of dibbling is called by 
them tugal ( Translator^. 

2) The commonest form of scarecrow used by the Malays is composed of two sticks 
fastened crosswise, the longer or upright one being driven into the ground. On this cross 
some tattered clothes ai-e hung and an old hat placed on top; the whole when seen at a 
distance rudely resembles a man with his arms extended. Another device is two hollow 
bambus or better still, two empty l<erosine tins hung together on a post. A cord fastened 
to one of these and leading to the hut where the watcher sits, enables him to rattle them 
together, and the birds are scared away by the noise. (^Translator'). 


strict watch had to be maintained against these destructive intruders. 

The various kinds of caterpillars [ulat pade) which prey on padi do 
but little harm in the opinion of the Achehnese, provided that the 
rice is planted at the proper time. Against these there is no known 

If the padi looks sickly, abe'e or ashes of burnt cow-dung is spread 
once or twice over the umong. 

As we have seen, superstition plays its customary part in the rice- 
cultivation of the Achehnese; by no means, however, so important a 
part as in Java, where a description of the padi-planting constitutes a 
perfect treasury of folklore. Nyi Sri is not even known by name. We 
can at most point to the defunct custom of the inbng padi- as a ru- 
diment of the ideas on which the worship of the rice-goddess in Java 
is based. To this we must add a custom prevailing in the highlands; 
when the rice is on the point of ripening {dara, marriageable, or rab 
bunteng, all but pregnant), various kinds of sweet meats are laid on 
the little bunds or banks surrounding the rice-plots. Apart from these 
trifles, the system of rice-cultivation in Acheh as compared with that 
in Java may be called, if not rational, at least rationalistic. 

The various tasks connected with the cultivation of rice are in the The la- 
lowlands performed by men only; in Pidie, Daya and some parts of °"''^''^' 
the highlands the planting out [pnla) is left to the women, who work 
for a small daily wage (formerly i gupang=i2'/j cts.). Persons of 
wealth and distinction, who possess many umongs, invite crowds of 
people to assist them in the planting out, reaping and threshing of the 
padi, and give them a good meal for their pains. This is called iiien- 
seuraya, and through such voluntary aid great tasks are easily com- 
pleted in a single day. 

Simpler folk get in their harvest with the help (Mily of their own The harvest, 
households and a friend or two; the latter accept similar assistance 
in return. The padi when cut is collected in trusses [gasay) '), contain- 
ing as much as can be held in the open hand, each truss being tied 
up with padi-straw [ba padc). When the reaping is finished, the trusses 
are gathered on high ground close by, where there are some trees to 
give shade. Here they are formed into sheaves [puy) of a man's height. 

l) Gasay properly means what one hand (comp. Jav. gangsal = five) can hold. It has 
also meaning of "odd," "not even." 


the trusses being spread out so as to form a circle, with their heads 
containing tlie grain meeting in the centre. During the days occupied 
in gatliering the padi into sheaves, it has time to get a sHght preh- 
minary drying. 

After this, mats are spread, on which is placed a certain quantity 
of padi to be threshed [Iho, properly =: "to stamp"]. The threshing is 
done with the feet; in order to tread with greater force, the thresher 
supports himself on two sticks as he walks slowly over the mat. 

The grain, when sufficiently threshed, is piled in a heap and then 
cleansed by rubbing between the hands [tintciicng, teuminten'cng), by 
which process the stalks, chaff and dirt are separated from the grain. 

Those who help to tread the corn usually receive as their sole 
reward a little tape, a fermented liquor prepared from rice. 

The second cleansing of the unhusked rice is done with the help of 
the wind. When there is a good breeze, an ciiiitpang (sack of plaited 
leaves) full of padi-grain is lifteil on high and the grain strewn out so 
that the empty husks and particles of dirt are blown away. This 
operation is called peukriiy or pcnangcii. It takes place in or close by 
the padi-field, unless there happens to be no wind for a long time 
after the threshing, in which case it is done in the gampong, the padi 
being left for the time being uncleaned, and brought home in this state. 
Payment and After the cleansing the harvested grain is measured [sukat], and those 
ofthe'ake'u'" ^'^° faithfully observc their religious duties set apart one-tenth of the 
whole ?,% jakeu'et [Kr^h.zakdt). According to the law, which is pretty literally 
interpreted by the Shafi'ite school on this point, this tax should be 
distributed among 8 classes of persons. Let us now see what the practice 
is in Acheh in this respect. 

i". The amils of the books of the law, who are charged with the 
collection and distribution of the jakeuct, must receive no fixed share, 
but merely a fair recompense for their trouble. The ainils are in Acheh 
represented by the teungkus of the meunasahs. The adat, however, 
confers on them no right to collect the jakeuet by force, so that 
measures of compulsion are resorted to only in districts where some 
ulama or other representative of religion has for the time being gained 
the upper hand, or where the chiefs retain a share of the jakeuet for 
themselves. As a rule the teungku waits for the share that is brought 
to his house, or has his portion fetched liome from the rice-field if 
notice has been given him of the completion of the harvest. 


A good teungku will, after getting a handsome allowance for himself, 
willingly bestow a portion on claimants of the other classes mentioned 
below, on their presenting themselves before him; but as to this 
there is no fixed rule and many teungkus retain the whole for their 
own use. 

2". The poor and 3". the needy, or those in actual want, either 
come to the field themselves or visit the owners of the rice later on 
in the year and prefer their claims with becoming modesty. From the 
teungku they have little to hope for. In Acheh as in other Moham- 
medan countries, the devout poor only are regarded as having any real 
claim. Few such are to be found among vagrant beggars; while the 
teungkus and ulamas, who do as a rule observe their religious duties, 
can generally make themselves out to be "needy" in some sense or 
other. They are always ready to advance this qualification, as it brings 
them a share of rice and other things. Thus "poor" and "needy" in 
this sense is usually synonymous with ulama or teungku. 

4". Debtors who are unable to pay a debt incurred for a permissible 
or rather a meritorious purpose, seldom enjoy any share in thejakeuet 
in Acheh. The social conditions which might have given rise to such 
a separate class according to the spirit of the Mohammedan law, are 
too rare to be of any account '). 

5". Poor travellers (Ach. meusapi from the Arabic musafir) occa- 
sionally get something from the jakeuet, either from the teungku in 
whose meunasah they find temporary lodging or from people of the 
gampongs who still have some padi left over, from which the tenth 
has not yet been deducted. The numerous hajjis from Krinchi (Korinchi) 
who in earlier times wandered from place to place in Acheh, were 
notable recipients of this dole. 

6". Assistance to slaves in their endeavours to purchase their freedom 
has seldom been given from the jakeuet in Acheh. Such an object is 
difficult to fulfil where there is no organized collection and admin- 
istration of the tax, and besides the Achehnese have never been in 
the habit of entering into contracts of manumission with their slaves. 

7". Converts to Islam (Ach. viualali from the Arabic muallaf) are 
never refused a .share in the jakeuet if they present themselves as 

l) In some parts of Sumatva the students in religious schools, who have had to leave 
their native places in order to pursue their studies, are called gharim^ which properly 
means debtors in this special sense. 


claimants; indeed tiiey go about begging through the whole country 
after the harvest. Such begging tours used to be the chief means of 
subsistence of the deserters from the Dutch forces in Acheh '). 

8". The employment of part of the jakeuet for the "holy war" is 
called the "way of God" {sab'il Allali). Where it cannot be so employed 
it should, according to some authorities, be devoted to works of uni- 
versal benefit to Mohammedans. This manner of employing it has (as 
we have seen when dealing with the political situation) '-) played a 
prominent part during the last twenty years. For the past ten years 
(1882 — 92) in particular, this portion of the jakcuct has been the 
mainstay of the constantly increasing power of the ulama party. 

According to the letter of the Shafi'ite law, the jakeuet, after deduc- 
tion of a suitable recompense for the first-mentioned class (the collectors 
and distributors), should be distributed in equal shares among the 
remaining classes, with this proviso, that a class not represented in the 
country should be regarded as non-existent. 

It is easy to conceive that such a method of distribution would 
present almost insurmountable difficulties no matter how well it were 
administered. We have only to think of the distinction between the 
classes of the "poor" and the "needy," which is no more than legal 
hair-splitting, or the "travellers" and "debtors," who are creatures of 
chance and very unevenly distributed. 

Nowadays there is hardly any Mohammedan country in which this 
tax is systematically collected and equally distributed. The nations of 
Islam are subjected to all kinds of secular taxes which the religious 
law brands under the name of iiiaks as impious institutions and which, 
in conflict with doctrine, have made the jakeuet appear as a voluntary 
free offering. 

Thus a Mohammedan, when he unstintingly sets apart his tenths of 
corn and gives them to one or other of the classes of persons who 
are entitled to them under the religious law, is regarded as specially 
devout. As a rule it is the expounders of the law or so-called "priests" 
that profit most by such gifts. In the Archipelago there is one special 

i) In addition to this privilege, the mu'alahs enjoy in Acheh great immunity both of 
person and property, for to slay or plunder a convert is regarded as an act of surpassing 
wickedness. For this reason the sultans and chiefs used to employ converts to collect and 
bring in their taxes. 

2) See above p. 176 et seq. 


class of "priests" that enjoys most of the advantages of the zakat, 
owing to their original position as official administrators of the tax. 
From being its managers they have come to be practically its mono- 

It becomes thus quite easy to understand how the Achehnese ulamas 
succeeded in the course of the last few years in collecting as the share 
for the holy war [prang sabi) not merely the seventh part or as much 
more as was set free by the absence of the other classes, but the major 
part of the whole ta.K, and in founding with this war fund a priestly 
imperium in imperio. 

The jakeuet of other objects liable to taxation under the law has Jakeuet of 

I 1 1 • 1 1 ■ . • 1-11 cattle, gold, 

never been contributed with anythmg approachmg to regularity, though silver and 
much more in later times under the powerful incentive of the ulamas, ■"''■'chandize. 
than was formerly the case. 

Very few among the Achehnese are content to keep a considerable 
sum of gold or silver unproductive for a whole year at a time, out of 
respect for the prohibition of usury in the Mohammedan law. There 
are various devices for evading the spirit of the prohibition while out- 
wardly conforming to its letter; but there are besides no small number 
of people in Acheh, as well as in Arabia, who are ready to neglect 
the letter also. 

Some are however constrained by circumstances to retain sums of 
gold or silver money in their chests for as long as a year at a time. 
These sums should properly be liable to a jakeuet of 2*/,*'/^. Persons of 
means always have considerable quantities of gold and silver ornaments 
in their possession, which are also subject to the jakeuet. Not all of 
these by any means pay even a fraction of the tax, while those whose 
conscience is less elastic content themselves with disbursing a yearly 
sum which is far from representing the amount due '). 

Payment of the jakeuet on merchandize is just as rare as on gold 
and silver, while the tax on cattle is entirely disregarded in practice. 

The stamping or threshing of the padi generally takes place in Further 
Acheh directly after the harvest. Thus we do not find here as in Java, (he harvested 
padi-barns with piled-up sheaves, but little store houses under or close "'^^• 

l) Some chiefs who never pay jakeuet on their own stock of the precious metals, are 
wont to deduct under the pretext of payment of the tax, a certain sum from the gold and 
silver belonging to their subjects, and held by them for over a year as pledges or ha' 
ganching (see p. Ii6). This sum however they always place in their own pockets. 


beside the dwelling-house'), in which the unhusked rice (pade) is kept ^). 

Husked rice [breiich = Mai. bras] is kept inside the house in a sack 
(I'uinpang), but only enough for 3 or 4 days' use is so stored. When 
the rice is scooped out of the bag with the cocoanut-shell used as a 
measure [kay], a little is always left in the shell and poured back each 
time so that the cumpang may never be entirely empty. This is the 
only one of all the numerous superstitions connected with the store 
of rice ^) observed by the people of Java, of which any trace can be 
found in Acheh. 

When the supply of brciicli is exhausted, the fresh padi required is 
taken from the storehouse [krung or brandang). It is first dried in the 
sun {adc'c) and then thrown into the rice mortar [leusong] ■•), a hollowed 
block of wood, in which stands the pestle [alec), from which projects 
a horizontal lever (jeungki). The husks are pounded off by setting this 
lever in motion at its further end so as to make the pestle rise and 
fall in the mortar. The husked rice is then sifted by means of the 
winnowing basket [jeuec] ') the light husks falling out as it is toosed ••). 

For making flour a smaller leusong is used, with a hand pestle {alec), 
and the fine flour is sifted through a sieve (ayd). 

In Pidie and some of the dependencies of Acheh, especially it would 
seem in districts where irrigation canals had been constructed at the 
behest of the rulers in ancient times, a rice tax (j.vasi pade] was formerly 
levied for the Sultan. This tax consisted of an amount of padi equal 

1) See ante p. 36. 

2) The Malay custom is the same as the Achehnese in this respect. Their padi-stores 
are miniature houses raised on short posts, the walls being made of neatly woven berlam. 
Such storehouses are called jchniipang. ( Traiislalor'). 

3) Such as the rules prescribing fixed days for taking the rice out of the lumbung, and 
the persons by whom it may be taken out. Women who do this for instance must wear 
their lower garment only, and must not do so during menstruction. There are also certain 
definite formulas to be repeated during the act, etc. etc. 

4) The Malays use a similar mortar and pestle ij'csoiig and alit) with a see-saw lever 
(the jeungki mentioned above, Mai. gaiidar) worked with the foot, the fulcrum being nearer 
to the far end of the lever so as to give greater force to the blow. Over the far end of 
the lever is placed a frame-work consisting of two uprights and a cross piece. By this the 
worker steadies himself while he alternately steps on and off the lever, causing it to rise 
and fall. The Chinese in the Straits have universally adopted this method of cleaning rice. 
( Translator'). 

5) This is the winnowing-basket to which the Achehnese compare the shape of the 
three sagis of Acheh (see p. 2 above). 

6) The winnowing is done by alternately shaking the basket up and down and to 
and fro. 


to that used as seed in the area on which it was collected [lam sinalch 
bijt'li sinaleli fade). 

Besides the pepper-planting, which is carried on more in the depen- Sugar-cane 


dencies than in Acheh proper, there is also considerable sugar-cane 
cultivation. The form of refreshment most generally sought by those 
who frequent the market in Acheh is the juice which they suck from 
the sugar-cane, or drink after it has been extracted therefrom by 
means of a very primitive sort of press. The expression for "a douceur"' 
in Acheh is "money to buy cane-juice" {ngbn blot' ic teube'e). The giver 
of a feast to which many onlookers come in addition to the guests, 
occasionally distributes pieces of sugarcane among them, and the traveller 
uses it to refresh himself when on a journey. Sugar [saka) or the molasses 
[meulisan) made from inferior cane is an indispensable ingredient in all 
kinds of dainties and sweetmeats. 

The cane {tcubic) is, as we have seen, planted on the umongs as a 
second crop, only to be cut when half-grown and used without further 
preparation. The true cane cultivation takes place in separate gardens 
enclosed with fences. 

From keunong 23 (January) begins the preparation of the ground 
with the plough; the planting season commences at keunong 19, but 
occasionally in other months also, just after the rice-harvest. But no 
planting is done in keunongs 17 — 7, since the cane if planted then 
turns out srbli, i. c. yields blossom but no juice. 

For planting purposes, the canes are divided into sections with 
two "limbs'" [atot) having thus three "articulations." They attain their 
full growth in about a year. They are then cut down, and sugar is 
manufactured from them in the very primitive Achehnese sugar mills, 
which are similar to those found in Banten, the highlands of Padang 
and other places '). 

The owners of sugarcane plantations do not all possess sugar-mills Sugar mills 
(weng), but borrow them, or rather the parts of which they are com- 
posed, from one another. When not in use they are kept under the 
house with all the other lumber. 

The borrower or owner takes these separate portions to his cane- 
plantation, and there puts the mill together in a hut [jambo) constructed 
expressly for the purpose. 

l) The Malays of the Peninsula use a similar machine, which they call ke/ang p'cnyi'pil. 
( Tra?isl(itor). 



The structure of the machine is as follows. On a massive wooden 
basis are placed (side by side) two upright circular shafts [whig). 


These arc held in position by two horizontal bars {blida) fixed at 
a certain elevation. The extremities of these bars are supported on 
upright pillars [tamch blida). Above the bars both shafts are provided 
with teeth which bite on one another so as to impart the rotatory 
motion of the one to the other. One of the shafts (the zveng again) or 
"male" weng is longer than the other {wc'iig inbng), the "female", so 
as to allow of the curved beam (woe-woe) being attached to the former. 
This beam, which bends downwards, is pulled round and round by a 
bufil'alo, and must of course hang clear of the other shaft as the latter 
would otherwise impede its movement. 

At the point where the canes are introduced between the two shafts 
so as to squeeze out the juice, are two parallel strips of wood placed 
horizontally round the shafts. These are called the comb (sitri), and 
serve to keep the canes, which are pushed in between them, straight 


in their passage between the shafts. As the cane is squeezed between 
the revolving shafts the juice falls into a channel {chara) in the base 
between the shafts, and passes thence into an earthenware pot [pasii). 

From the juice thus obtained the sugar or molasses is made by 
boiling. Molasses is chiefly manufactured in the XXII IMukims, the VII 
Mukims Bueng and the IV Mukims, since in these places the cane is 
of inferior quality. 

The cane-gardens are manured with cow-dung. The same preventive 
is adopted against disease in the cane as against disease in the padi 
viz. spreading burnt cow-dung {abee) over the field. 

Aren sugar {saka jo) is also made in Acheh and commands a higher 
price than cane-sugar; but the manufacture of sugar from the sap of 
the cocoa-nut tree seems to be unknown. 

§ 5. Navigation and Fisheries. 

Before dealing with the occupation, acquisition and transfer of land, 
we shall first make a few remarks on the subject of navigation and fishery. 

In our synopsis of the keunongs we saw that the voyage from the 
capital to the West Coast may be made without danger in Achehnese 
vessels {prahos and sampans) from keunong 5 — 17, and to the North 
and East Coast during the rest of the year, i. e. from keunong 17 — 5 ; 
also that there occur intervals of from 5 to 7 days in the prevalence 
of the N. E. and S. W. monsoons. Steamers now run to the principal 
ports at all seasons, but in former times the Achehnese sailors and 
traders used to set a high value on the knowledge of the exact times 
when these intervals take place. They assert that there are certain 
signs by which they can be ascertained each year, but that there are 
only a few who possess the requisite knowledge. 

The interval in keunong 1 1 was considered as especially advant- 
ageous to those who could predict its coming beforehand. In the rantos, 
the wild and inhospitable districts on the West Coast which separate 
the larger settlements from one another and are the field of the pepper- 
planters' labours, nothing could be obtained during the S. W. monsoon. 
Whoever succeeded in conveying thither a cargo of pots and pans 
{kanet-blangbng) clothing, salt, sugar and molasses, was certain to return 
home with a handsome profit. The interval in the N. E. monsoon was 


of less importance, since there is a better supply of all necessaries on 
the North and East Coasts. 

Fishing goes on all the year round, and in the lowlands many sup- 
port life by this employment. 
Principal A distinction is drawn between cinigkot daral "land-fish," which live 

kinds of fish. . 

m the swamps and the padi-fields when covered with water, citngkut 

krucng, fish found in rivers and salt water creeks, and eungknt laot or 

sea-fish. Some kinds of fish belong to two of these classes, as they are 

sometimes to be found in the sea, and sometimes in the creeks and rivers. 

In fresh-water rivers [krucng i'c tabcuc) there is but little fishing, 

owing to the rapidity of the stream ; for the fisherman of Acheh 

proper knt'cng generally means krucng ic iitascn or salt water creek. 

Varieties of The means by which their capture is eftected differ with the seasons 
fishing t.ickle. 

of the year and also with the haunts and habits of the different fish. 

The "landfish" ') are caught with a rod [kittvc) or fish-trap {biibtc) ^). 
In the rice-fields these traps are placed in the openings in the bunds. 
They are fastened in a horizontal position to a vertical stake (jcuncullmg) 
fixed in the ground. Inside the trap are set at intervals a number of 
little subsidiary traps consisting of circular rows of thin strips of bamboo. 
These stand wide open near the mouth [babali] of the trap, but close 
in together at its closed end [punggong). These obstacles open readily 
as the fish enter and then resume their former position by their own 
elasticity and bar their e.Kit. 

A simpler sort of fishing trap is the gcuncugbn =•), identical with that 
of which Newbold ■•) says: "Fish arc often taken in shallows and marshes 
by means of a conical basket open at the top and bottom. The broad 
end is placed suddenly on the mud where they are supposed to lie; 
the hand introduced at the narrow upper part of the cone and the 
ensnared fish taken out." 

Fishponds (inon eungkbt) are also made in the rice-fields. Deep holes 
are dug out, and in these are placed bits of wood, twigs, leaves etc. 
to attract the fish thither. Then the entrance is blocked, the pond is 
baled out and the fish extracted. 

1) The following are some of the names of the "land-fish"; /uic/ie^ sciingK^ kruili^scufat^ 
siingie', atieiC seusia/i., gro. 

2) This is the same as the commonest form of Malay fishing-trap, the I'libn., and is used 
in the same way. {Tiaiistaioi). 

3) The Malay serl:ap. 

4) British settlements in the Straits of Malacca II : 1S8. 


In the salt-water creeks and rivers ') (especially the former) the casting 
net {jeue) and the nyareiig are employed. The latter is a square net, with 
which a piece of water is barricaded as it were with a wall, so that the fish 
get entangled in its meshes as they try to pass through. Birds are caught 
in the same manner in the open country, and the net used to catch them 
bears the same name. To ensure a good catch with the nets, two men are 
sometimes posted one at each side of the stream to drive the fish from some 
distance off. The two hold between them a long rattan or pliant trailer 
which they move up and down in the water, and the fish, frightened at 
the noise, dart away towards the net. Driving of this sort is called nicuuret. 

Small seines {piikat) are also employed for catching fish in the creeks 
and rivers. 

In shoal water both in the swamps and in the creeks and rivers, fish 
are sometimes caught with purse-nets, some of larger size called 7iyab 
and some smaller, ali, the latter being used especially to catch cray- 
fish, crabs and prawns. These ali are let down to the number of fifty 
at a time ; they sink to the bottom by means of the lead with which 
they are weighted in the centre, but remain under the control of the 
fisherman by means of a rope, to which a float is attached. 

The nculicuns -) and llionis fulfil the same functions in the creeks and 
rivers as the fish-ponds in the rice-fields. 

The neuheun is a kind of pond made by piercing the bund that runs 
alongside a creek or river by a pipe {grong-grong) and receiving the 
water that pours through this in a pit excavated for the purpose. This 
is then made an attractive abode for fish by placing in it bits of wood, 
leaves etc. The neuheun is protected from the raids of net-fishers by 
planting thorny bushes or bamboo stakes in them and also by keeping 
watch over them at night. The fish is caught with a casting-net. 

The llioiii is formed by collecting a mass of heavy timber in a deep 
portion of the river when the water is low, and surrounding it with 
stakes driven into the river-bed in order to prevent it from being 

1) The following are some of the krueng-fish : Hancu\ niuldih^ rapsueng^ kadra^ grapie^ 
gi:iireii(ia\ ikan taiuia (certain fish are known by the generic name of ikan\ mirah mata^ 
tangkirdng^ ikan limon^ kitatig^ chaheli^ ikan katoct^ grot-grot. The iideucng (prawn), as well 
as the small kinds among those just enumerated, are caught with the casting-net or fish- 
trap. With the latter are also caught the </!■«/, itdeueng kciilll'., sriding and uc bhh, 

2) This is an abbreviation tcuneithcun from thciin = to stop, to catch, and thus properly 
means that in which the process of stopping or catching is performed. 


carried away by the stream. The fish naturally collect on the upper 
side of this dam. After a month or two the time comes for emptying 
the Ihbvi {poll Ih'om). 

When the water is low the space occupied by the timber is enclosed 
with jang. One piece {kra) o{ jang consists of a screen of split bamboos 
[kra) from 22 '/^ feet to 45 feet in length, the bamboos being fastened 
together much in the same way as "chicks" or sun-screens used in this 
country. This wall oi jaiigs fastened together so as to cover the required 
space, is fixed lound stakes set in the river bed, so that the bamboo 
screen stands upright to a height of from 4' 6" to 9'. The dam of 
timber within the space thus enclosed is then removed, and the fish 
so hemmed in are caught with nets (jcitc, nyab). 

yangs are also used for catching fish in allies, the branches or back- 
waters of creeks or rivers '), which are separated from the latter by 
comparatively dry spots when the water is low. While the water is 
still high, the alii'e is marked oft" on both sides with rows of jangs, the 
junction of the aluc with the river being enclosed by a jang (ntoiig 
jang) set between the extremities of these side walls and almost circular 
in shape, with one opening leading into the alue. When the water 
subsides, the fish in the aluc are debarred from returning to the river 
(or creek) by the accustomed way; the only door that is open to 
them leads right into the circular jang, but on passing through this 
opening they are caged in and can find no means of exit. The fishermen 
then pull the fish out of this cage with the hand or with scoop-nets. 

The places where this method of fishing is practised are usually 
marked by banks thrown up on either side. 

The implements used for fishing in the sea bear the same names as 
those employed in the kruengs, but of course differ somewhat from 
the latter in size and make. 

Fishing from boats (jalos or prahos) lying at anchor is carried on by 
means of an ordinary sea-line ^) [kawe laot) without a float (lampong) 
but furnished with a lead {batee kawe). 

The towing-line (katvc hue or kazvc tumid) is towed behind vessels 
sailing swiftly before the wind. For this a bunch of white chicken's 
feathers ') is used as an artificial bait. These are fastened round the line 

i) In the highlands aluc signifies a streamlet. 

2) In contradistinction to the "land-line" {kawe daral) with its rod {go) and float. 

3) Great weight is attached to obtaining for this purpose the feathers of a "lucky cock" 


above the hook [mata kawe) in such a way that they can move back- 
wards and forwards. Some kinds of fish mistake this bunch of feathers 
for food, and when they bite they find themselves caught fast on the 
liook througli the motion of the praho, almost before they have dis- 
covered their mistake. 

Another kind is the kawe ranggong '), a line composed of two parts 
united by an implement [ranggnng] made of horn, and used for fishing 
when at anchor. 

The sea fish-trap [biibe'e laot) is almost hemispherical in form, with 
a closed bottom and an opening in the side. Small fish can swim in 
and out through the interstices of the side. They seek refuge in the 
trap from the large fish which pursue them, but the latter follow them 
in through the opening. Thus the small ones escape, but the big ones 
remain behind, since the aperture, as in all such traps, gives them no 
chance of getting out once they have entered. 

The casting-net [jeu'e) ") is used for fishing for prawns [udeneng) close 
to the shore and several species of fish, such as the moo from 
which dried fish or karhig is made, and the budu'eng, siimbbc and 
tangkirong. The budiicng and suinbbe are also caught with the nyareng 
as well as the ikan Iham and the ineuneng. At sea of course the 
nyareng cannot be employed, as in the creeks and rivers, as a wall 
wherewith to obstruct a portion of the waterway for the fish. These 
nets are simply thrown loosely into the water and hauled in and 
examined after a few moments to see if any of the denizens of the 
deep may have become entangled in the meshes. 

In the pursuit of the various kinds of fishery which we have so far 
described there is no lack of peculiar customs, many of which are 

{tnano' mcultialC). The experts (connoisseurs in cockfighting) distinguish these by the shape 
of the scales on their feet. 

For further information as to the kawe hue see Xotulen Bat. Genootscliap for i^< March 
1892 Bijlage I, N". 12. 

1) See Notulen Batav. Genootschap for ist March 1892 Bijlage I, N". 12, and as regards 
Padang De geschicdenis van prinses Balkis by D. Gerth van Wijk, p. 70, N". 46. 

2) The Malays call their casting net ja/a (etymologically the equivalent of Jeui). It is 
a circular net with very fine meshes and is weighted all round the edges with small pieces 
of lead. The fisher folds the net neatly into a small compass, and then, holding it in one 
hand, throws it forward with great dexterity so that it spreads in the air and falls evenly 
on the water. The weighted edges sink slowly down leaving the middle in the form of a 
bag. This is gently drawn in and the prawns etc. removed from the net. It is a very pretty 
sight to see a skilful jala-fisher manipulate his net. (^Translator). 


purely superstitions. Superstition, however, plays a much more important 
part in the fishing with the fukat or seine-net. 

Fishing with the pukat in the open sea [mupayang] is only carried 
on for a small part of the year. It requires the cooperation of two 
sampans, and it is only the .j«/v-fish ') that is caught in this manner. 

Various kinds of fish, great and small, are however caught inshore 
with the pukat. One end of the net is made fast on shore while the 
other is taken out to sea in a sampan and then brought ashore again, 
the object being to make a big haul of fish with the gigantic bags 
forming the centre of the net which are thus dragged through a con- 
siderable tract of water. 

The men [aivd)^\\o form the crew of a sampan -) subject to the orders 
of a master (pazuang), who is also usually the owner of the vessel and 
its belongings. Pukat-fishing presupposes great skill and especially 
sundry sorts of eh-ioncr {^= llinii) or knowledge of magic lore, principally 
consisting of formulas which must be recited at the proper time in 
order to resist malignant influences by sea and to attract the fish. Just 
as in hunting the secrets of the forest must be known to the pawa/ig 
rusa, the indispensable "master" of every deer-drive, who is alone able 
to exorcise wood-spirits, to take bees' nests from the trees unharmed, 
etc., so must the pawang pukat know all the influences that prevail 
beneath the sea, and be armed against them so far as may be 

Some of the rules which have to be observed are universally known, 
as for instance that which forbids fishing with the pukat on a Friday 
under any pretext. Other methods of catching fish may be practised 
with impunity on this day, but pukat-fishing is prohibited as strictly 
as ploughing ■'). Thus on Fridays the pawang and his crew may be seen 
lounging about in their best clothes. 

There are besides a number of words which cannot be uttered with- 
out danger at sea. This holds good for other fishermen as well as the 

i) The following are besides those already mentioned, some of the chief kinds of sea- 
fish : — kas'c^ rapcu'eng^ kadra^ g/rttipok^ inirah mata, gabui^ lamhctt'e^ hriie' mata^ some 
kinds of y'ee^ teiinga^ grapce^ beurculang^ brachueng^ bubara^ luih^ paroc^ lanJd\ sise\ ikan 
taiida^ ambic-ambu^ alit-alu. talcuing^ bilih. Of the last-named sort (as of the nu'd\ karcng 
or dried fish is made. 

2) A model of a sampan pukat with its belongings is to be found in the museum of the 
Batavian Society; see Notulen Batav. Genootschap for March 1st 1892. Bijlage I, N0SI&2. 

3) Vide sup. p. 261. 

28 r 

pukat-fishers, and in some degree for all seafaring men. Such unwritten 
pantangs have a very widespread range. In Java there are many 
such which are observed in the chase of wild animals. In the neigh- 
bourhood of the ancient Galuh there are places where the Mohammedan 
confession of faith must not be uttered while fishing, for fear of dis- 
turbing the spirits of the ancient heathen kingdom! Even in Hadramaut 
the chase is the subject of a certain amount of heathenish lore '), in 
which prohibitions of forms of speech play a great part, so that a 
huntsman or even the friend of one is regarded as a person of ill 

Among the fishermen on the North coast of Java whole lists of 
words can be collected which are prohibited at sea and have to be 
replaced by others. This is also the case to some extent among the 
seafaring folk of Acheh. For instance, those at sea must not call a 
mountain by its proper name, gitnong, lest waves as high as mountains 
should overwhelm their vessel ; the euphemism employed is tanoh manyang 
:= high ground. Gajali, the elephant, is called by his nickname /<' vieiirah '). 
If the fisherman wishes to say that something is "ready," he must not 
use the ordinary word '^Ikeiieh" because this has also the meaning of 
"free"' or "loose," and its use might give the imprisoned fish a chance 
of escaping ; accordingly the less dangerous synonym leiingka is employed. 
If he wants to speak of a rope being cast off, he uses in place of 
Ihcuch its synonym Icupaih; so too lob "to pass under something by 
stooping", and several other words have to be replaced by synonyms 
or paraphrases by those who are fishing or on a voyage. 

To this sort of universal lore must be added the special pukat 
mysteries. The awa's obey the pazvang not only because they are his 
hired servants, but also because he alone possesses this special knowledge. 

The pawang and his crew are too busy with the management of 
their boat and nets to spare time to bring the fish to market them- 

1) Thus it is a prevalent superstition in that country that huntsman when starting for 
the chase, must not perform the morning prayers obligatory on all Mohammedans, for 
misfortune should- befall them or they should at least be unlucky in their pursuit of game. 

2) The Malays when at sea will tolerate no allusion to the elephant. They have other 
curious pantang rules, the meaning and origin of which is no longer known; for instance 
it is forbidden to cast charred wood into the sea, and the washings of any vessel used for 
cooking must first be poured into another vessel before they are thrown overboard. 
See also Clifford's In Court anJ Kamfoiig pp. 147 — 4S and Skeat's il/a/«j' A^7^';Vp. 314 — 15. 
( Translator). 


selves. Thus they arc obliged to have recourse to middlemen, and 
these fish-buyers are called niugc. Fish-dealers on a small scale divide 
among them the catch of one sampan if it be a big one, for they are 
their own coolies, and thus cannot carry more than a single basket 
a-piece. Those who deal on a larger scale have lesser dealers under 
them, and give each of them for sale a portion of the catch of the 
one or two sampans with which they have a fixed agreement. 

As soon as the catch has been landed, the pawang discusses the 
price of the fish with his contract buyer. The latter tells him that the 
market is at present greatly overcrowded, and that he therefore dares 
not promise more than such and such a price, which is as a matter 
of fact far below the expectations of the master of the fishing-boat. 
He can at any time determine his contract with the iiiiigi-, but this 
profits him nothing, for he wants to sell his fish at once while fresh 
and must employ his usual dealer or else enter into protracted negoci- 
ations with a new one. The pawangs have learnt by experience that 
there is no advantage in such changes, as it simply means getting out 
of the frying-pan into the fire. Accordingly, most pawangs spend a 
considerable portion of their time on land in squabbling with their 
buyers, the more so as they know that the verbal agreement as to 
price, which they make immediately after landing, is by no means 
always final. The dealer should properly retain as his commission the 
difference between the price agreed on and what he succeeds in making 
by driving hard bargains in the market. When he returns from the 
market, however, he often declares that the sum agreed on is too high, 
and compels the pawang to content himself with much less; adding 
that he has not earned a single peng for himself. 

Just as the pawang deals with a head muge or fish-dealer, so the 
latter contracts with sub-dealers, but he does not let himself be cheated 
so much by them since he is of the same trade. 
Distiilnition The muges are not the only doubtful friends who view with an 
o t c catch, interested eye the industry of the pawang and his crew and await 
their coming with impatience on shore. A number of onlookers from 
the gampongs along the coast come down to meet them, and unless 
the catch has been too paltry, these have a right in accordance with 
the adat to a present of fish. 

Nor is it merely respect for the adat that causes the pawangs to 
distribute these presents. They know that if they did not observe this 


custom, many an evil eye would rest on their vessel and their pukat, 
with the result that much ill-luck would attend their next venture, for 
many of the onlookers would exhaust all their magic arts to cause 
the fish to be driven out to sea, the nets to be torn and the like. 

So the pawang has secret hostility to dread from the general mass Share of the 


of the onlookers if he does not keep them in good humour; but from 
the rakans or followers of the territorial chiefs he must expect open 
enmity, should he fail to set apart for them a gift suitable to their rank. 

Woe to the pawang who falls short in this respect ! He must expect 
a punishment like that visited on the planter who has incurred the 
displeasure of his uleebalang and whose land is placed under a ban 
(langgch) ') by the latter. His sampan and pukat are placed under the 
ban for a month or sometimes even for an unlimited period, and he 
thus finds himself deprived of his livelihood, and can only get the ban 
removed by appeasing the uleebalang with a money present, which 
may in fact be called a fine. Where his sin of omission is trifling, so 
as merely to cause the wife of the uleebalang to complain to her lord 
that his contribution of fish is so small as to disappoint her house- 
keeping expectations, he is punished indirectly. A couple of rakans go 
down to the market, and having ascertained which of the buyers has 
in his charge the fish of the defaulting pawang, take from him so much 
as they consider "fair." The buyer is then justified in paying to the 
pawang less than he had promised him. 

How oppressive this tax may be to the pawang may be seen, for 
instance, at Ulee Lheue (Olehheh), where the pukat-fishermen have to 
deal with at least three chiefs, the uleebalang Teuku Ne, his banta ^) 
Teuku Sandang and Raja Itam, a son of a deceased Teuku Ne. These 
three always enforce their demands for fish and punish defaulters with 
the ban. There are, besides, other smaller dignitaries whom the pawang 
cannot continually overlook without being punished in the end. 

The pawangs have occasionally trade disputes with one another, 
which chiefly arise from their fishing in each others' neighbourhood. 
These are generally settled by the headman of the pawang guild, him- 
self also a pawang, who bears the title of panglima and owes his oftace 
to the choice of his fellows of the guild with the approval of the 
territorial chief. The sphere of action of a panglima is called Iho (=z Malay 

1) See p. 115 above. 

2) See p. 92 above. 


ielok), which properly means "bay"; these "bays" are separated from 
one another by boundary marks. 

At ordinary times the only meaning of this division is tliat tlie 
pawangs of a given llio' use that portion of the foreshore for laying 
up and repairing their sampans, ant! as the basis for their fishing trips. 
The right to catch fish in the water facing that strip of coast is open to 
the pawangs of other Iho's just as much as to them, nor is it regarded 
as an offence for one of these others to land in their territory. The boundary 
however has its chief significance:(^t the kanduri laot, which each Iho' 
holds annually to invoke God's Iji^lpssing on the labours of its pawangs 
The kanduri The time chosen for this kandijri (which is supposed to bring to the 
pukat-fishers the same good luck as the kanduri blang ') does to the 
planters) is that when the fishery enjoys a compulsory holiday owing 
to the rough weather i. e. the changes of the N. E. and S. W. monsoon. 
Thus the foreshore at Ulee Lheue is divided for the pukat fishermen 
into two Iho's, one of which gives its religious feast in keunong 17 at 
the beginning of the S. W. Monsoon (about April), and the other in 
keunong 5, at the beginning of the N. E. Monsoon (about September). 

The pawangs of the Iho' bear the expenses of the feast, which is 
on a considerable scale, but they can claim a contribution of about 
four dollars from each of their contract buyers. 

The day for the feast is fixed by the panglima, who invites to it 
all the pawangs and their crews, the uleebalang and the gampong 
authorities (keuchi's, teungkus and ureueng tuha) of his mukim. 

That the feast is luxurious according to Achehnese ideas may be 
judged from the fact that a buffalo is always slaughtered for it. Before 
proceeding to attack the good cheer which is spread on the shore of 
the Iho' which gives the feast, the latter is consecrated by like (Arab. 
dikr), the repetition of psalms of praise {seulazveiict) in honour of the 
Prophet, or liatavi, i. e. the recitation in chorus of portions of the 
Quran by the teungkus and leubes present. 

During the seven days following the kanduri, it is high festival for 
the fish in that Iho'; for in this week neither the pawangs belonging to 
that "bay" nor their colleagues from neighbouring parts may fish in 
the waters fronting that division ^). 

i) See p. 259 above. 

2) For a similar pantang-prohibition see p. 236. 

§ 6. Rights on Land and Water. 

To supplement what precedes, we shall now make a few remarks on 
the origin, transfer and forfeiture of the possession of land and certain 
rights over waters containing fish. 

Real primary jungle [rimba] suitable for clearing is scarcely to be 
met with anywhere in the lowlands," though there is plenty of it in 
the highlands. Here jungle produce of every kind, timber, damar, getah, 
rattan, wild fruits, honey etc., may be collected by all alike free and 
without any supervision ; nor is it limited to the inhabitants of the 
surrounding country, since the rimba is attached to no particular 
gampong or mukim. The chase is also entirely free. The only tax is 
the usual impost levied by the uleebalang at the river mouth (kuala) 
which all must pass, on the products collected in the jungle and brought 
down for export. Where however a strip of virgin forest more closely 
adjoins a definite tract of inhabited country, the highland chiefs take 
toll of the jungle products gathered in their territory, the tax being 
levied previous to sale. 

Special rights to all that the rimba contains arise only through Rights over 
clearing; a fact which plainly shows that the country is too extensive "^^" 
for its inhabitants. The opening of cleared plantations {ladang) gives 
rise to rights of occupation, the duration of which is measured by that 
of the existence of the ladangs, which varies greatly according to cir- 
cumstances. On these roughly cleared lands rice and maize are planted 
for from one to three years; vegetables of various kinds, betel-nut, 
cocoanut trees or other fruit trees for a much longer period. 

The sole restriction on clearing consists in this, that whoever wishes 
to open ladangs, gardens {lampoih), or wet rice-fields [iimbiig) in the 
immediate neighbourhood of land which already has an owner or occupier, 
must first obtain the permission of the chief of the territory to which 
this land belongs. Where a number of persons wish to join in under- 
taking a considerable clearing, they must obtain the permission of the 
chief in whose country they wish to settle, but this permission refers 
more to their immigration into his territory than to their occupation 
of the forest land. 

The right to a given ladang is lost as soon as all traces of the 
clearing have disappeared, just as it originated when the ground was 
first marked out for clearinsj. 


Rice-fields and gardens always belong to one particular gampong, 
and thus it is to the gampong authorities that recourse is had in the 
first instance to maintain the rights of the owners and to compel them 
to observe their obligations. 
Tlic pailanj. Where, as in the Tunong, the land has not been taken entirely into 
cultivation, there is annexed to each gampong, in addition to the 
'^blang" or area composed of umongs or padi-fields, another area (/rtf^/rt^/^"") 
on which there is no cultivation. All the inhabitants of a mukim have 
a right to open umongs on an unoccupied padang, situated within 
that mukim, which um6ngs thenceforward become their property ; but 
this privilege is seldom availed of. It is more usual to open gardens 
on the padang, but this gives a right to what is planted only and not 
to the ground itself. The only padang in the neighbourhood of the 
capital was a small tract near Pante Pira'. Elsewhere in the lowlands 
it is rarely to be met with. 
Wakciiuh Ownership of the trees etc. planted, exclusive of ownership of the 
ground, is not confined to the padangs; it is also to be met with in 
the case of what are called wakeuch lands, for instance those which 
extend to the depth of seven great fathoms [deiipa meunara) on 
either side of the river, and which used to be at the disposal of 
the raja '). 
Forfc-itiire All right to possession of land is lost by abandonment or complete 
lights over ncglect, such as causes all traces of clearing to disappear. This of course 
land. happens most often in the case of ladangs, but seldom in that of wet 

rice-fields, gardens or courtyards. With respect to the last three even 
the theory of forfeiture is not entirely accepted by the people. So long 
as it is remembered that the um6ng of X or the lampoih of Y lay in 
a certain place, the common folk are generally inclined to recognize 
unconditionally the rights of X or Y or their successors in title when- 
ever they choose to assert them. 

It is especially the covetous uleebalangs who in their own interest 
declare such lands forfeit after they have been for a long time without 
a master. In like manner they greedily annex the heritages of strangers 
on the pretext of the difficulty involved in seeking out the heirs, or 

l) An ordinary deupa is the distance from tip to tip of the middle fingers when a man 
stands with the aims outstretched. The deupa meunara is measured from the middle finger 
of the right hand to the sole of the foot, the right arm being raised to its full stretch 
above the head. 


pilfer the goods inherited by absent persons under the pretence of 
administering the estates. 

As we have already seen, these chiefs also find in the langgi'h 
iimbng '), or banning of rice-fields, a welcome method of quietly acquiring 
possession of many a desirable piece of land. 

The rights exercised by their occupiers over ladangs, um6ngs, lam- Tiansfei- of 


poihs and courtyards (tanoh rumoh, sometimes also used as lampoih 
or gardens) are expressed by the term mile -] [milk) which is borrowed 
from the Arabic. 

Just like all other ownership, that of the various sorts of land we Succession. 
have mentioned passes at the owner's death to his heirs. We shall see 
in a later chapter what departures from the Mohammedan law are 
exhibited by the Achehnese law of inheritance. The fact that in distri- 
buting estates, the umongs are, where possible, given to the sons and 
the houses to the daughters is not in itself in conflict with the Mo- 
hammedan law. 

Wills [wasiet] are seldom made '). The Achehnese who feels his 
death approaching generally acquaints those present with his last wishes 
in regard to the distribution of his property among his heirs, the place 
where he desires to be buried and so forth. This is called pumcitsan 
(from peusan *) and these last "behests" are generally observed out of 
piety, although they have no binding effect under Mohammedan law. 

The right of the owner to devote one-third of his property to the 
advantage of objects or persons other than the heirs appointed by 
law, is universally recognized but seldom practised in Acheh. 

Equally seldom exercised is the right of withdrawing lands or other The makinj; 
property from common use and making them wakeuch (Arab, zoaqf), ° "^^ ' 
the usufruct or income being devoted to some purpose permitted by 
the Mohammedan law. 

The rice-fields whose revenues are devoted to the upkeep of the 
mosques belong to this class; they are called inniiiig sara or incusara 
(see p. 122) and their foundation is in part ascribed to the old sultans. 

i) See pp. 1 15 above. 

2) Milik in Malay has the same sense. In the Straits settlements, where English land 
law prevails to a great extent, it is used in the sense of "occupancy", and no rule of English 
law is more readily understood by the Malays than that by which twelve years adverse 
possession (^milik) confers an indefeasible title upon the occupier. (^Translators. 

3) This is also the case among the Malays. ( Translator). 

4) Malay pi'san., which means to "direct" or "convey a behest" to another. (^Translator). 


Besides tlic above, the latter dedicated certain rice-fields as waqf to meet 
the expenses of the annual kanduris of Teungku Anjong, and also, it 
would seem, for the maintenance of some of the smaller chapels. 

Generally, however, the Achehnese limit themselves as regards the 
making of waqf to copies of the Quran and other religious books 
(kitabs) for chapels and schools and earthenware utensils and the like 
for mosques and meunasahs, to be used in the kanduris held therein. 
^»lc- Sale of ladangs is compaiatively rare, owing to their remote situation, 

but it is otherwise in regard to wet rice-fields, gardens and courtyards. 
According to the adat, however, lands of these three descriptions may 
always be acquired by the owners of the adjoining lands for the price 
offered by another, a right not conferred by the Shafi'ite law. 

For this reason the owner of such lands in Achch is bound to 
notify his immediate neighbours of his intention to sell, nor may he 
complete the sale without their consent. Where two or more of the 
adjoining owners wish to e.xcrcise their right of acquisition, they must 
come to an arrangement with each other; this seems seldom to present 
any difficulty. 

The sale is attended with some ceremony, the form of it being 
borrowed in part from the Mohammedan law, and in part from the 
adat. Some ten persons from the gampongs of the purchaser and seller 
witness the formal offer and acceptance, and each receives for his 
trouble some tobacco-leaves [Ixikottg). The vendor first announces the 
sale, though it properly speaking still lacks its legal confirmation. "I have 
sold'", he says, "my rice-field in district X to so-and-so for g lOO; let 
this be known to all present ')." With this introduction he proceeds to 
make the offer {peusambot): "I sell you the rice-field Y for the sum 
of % lOO. — ^)." The purchaser replies by the acceptance [sainbot) "I buy 
from you this rice-field for the sum of one hundred dollars 'j." 
Sale of cattle. The same formalities take place at the sale of cattle. The seller of 
the cow or buffalo holds the leading-rope, which passes through the 
animal's nostrils, close up to the latter, whilst the purchaser grasps it 
lower down. The formula of the peusambot and sambot is the same 

1) Umong diblang X ka lon-piMoe keu gob nyoc yum sireuloih reimgget. 

2) Lon-publoe keu dr'oeneu umong Y deungon yum sireuloih reunggil. 

3) Lon-bloe ba' droencu umong yum sireuloih reunggil. In the lowlands the lowest price 
of an ordinary yo^ (requiring one naleh of seed padi) was under native rule 100 dollars; 
but in the highlands treble the area might be bought for this price. 


as those which we have just described, viz. "I sell you this buffalo for 
the price of 40 dollars." "I buy from you this buffalo for the price 
of 40 dollars." In repeating these words great care is taken to let the 
pronoun "you" precede the mention of the buffalo or cow, since the 
reverse sequence is regarded as highly improper. The same applies to 
the formula used in the purchase of land. 

When a man purchases a buffalo for agricultural purposes, he performs Consecration 

of a new 

a further ceremony of a superstitious sort at the bringing home of the plough- 
animal. Leading him to the foot of the steps of his house, he calls to " a o- 
the inmates to fetch him down a cliinu ^) full of water and a handful 
[rciigam] of husked and unhusked rice (breu'ch padc). After crying 
bcscumclah ("in the name of Allah!"), the owner first pours the water over 
the buffalo's head and then besprinkles the latter with the raw rice. 

Although the sale of land cannot be said to be infrequent in Acheh, 
still public opinion stamps as a spendthrift the man who alienates 
the whole or a part of his inherited rice-field. This reprehensible 
action is known as pupipa umbng=\.\\e. breaking up of his rice-field. 
It amounts indeed to an attack on the "king of all breadwinning" 
[pangulee liareiikat). 

Letting [pcushva) of rice-fields used ^) to be rare in the lowlands, Letting of 
but very common in the highlands and in Palo Breueh (Bras) where 
the cultivated ground is too extensive for the population. The rent is 
usually paid in husked rice [breueh). 

Gardens used also to be let in the lowlands, and in this case 
money was used. A high rent for a good sugar-cane garden with the 
necessary cuttings for planting was 20 dollars per annum. 

The letting of houses is entirely at variance with the social institu- 
tions of the Achehnese, on which we shall enlarge further in our chapter 
on family life. Shops and stalls [kcud'c] are indeed let for hire, but 
these are only frequented by the traders on market-days, and at other 
times serve merely as storehouses for goods ready for sale. 

Buffaloes and cows are also let out for hire, the usual rate being Hiring out 
about 3 gunchas of unhusked rice [padc) per annum. 

1) The chinu is a ladle made of a cocoanut shell. The use of this utensil to the exclusion 
of all others for the consecration of a buffalo may be explained by the fact that the chinu 
is the most old-fashioned utensil of its kind. It is also employed, as we shall see later on, 
at the "laying" of certain evil spirits supposed to cause sickness. 

2) Under native rule, before the conquest by the Dutch. ( Tianslalor). 


The niawaih 


Contracts fur hire arc concluded without any formahties, since they 
are not far-reaching in tlieir consequences. 

A form of contract in very common use is the maivdih. By this one 
party binds himself to work the rice-field of another with his own 
buffalo, plough etc., in consideration of receiving one-half of tiie crop, 
or to support his cattle etc., on condition that one-half the young that 
they produce shall become his property. Such contracts are also very 
common in Java. 

Mawaih is thus synonymous with nicudua laba i. e. eejual division of 
profits. Should special circumstances give rise to an agreement for 
division on other terms, this is no longer called mawaih, hut expressed 
thus for example; meugb'e umbng X bagi llice = ''to work the field of 
X for one-third of the crop." 

il/^?ii:'rt//^-contracts are more especially resorted to by the owners of 
umongs situated at a great distance from one another, as for instance 
the uleebalangs, who cause the umongs which they appropriate to be 
cultivated in this way unless they are powerful enough to get the work 
done by feudal service. There are some chiefs who year after year call 
out the people of one gampong to plough for them, of another to do the 
planting, and of a third to gather in the harvest '). 

He who hands over his field to be tilled under a iiiaioaih contract 
[pumawdili) troubles himself no further about it till the crop is cut. 
Then he witnesses the measuring out of the padi either personally or 
by agent and removes the half that falls to his share. 
Mortgages. From the above-quoted adverse view of the Achehnese in regard to 
the sale of rice-fields it may readily be seen that they are better 
managers of property, and have more comprehension of the value of 
accumulating capital than the Javanese. Indeed parsimony may be said 
to be more a national characteristic of the former people than extra- 
vagance. This does not pre\'ent many from temporarily converting their 
rice-fields into money under the pressure of adversity of various kinds. 

l) [During the existence of the "linie" (circ 1885 — 96) the state of things in the neigh- 
bourhood of this boundary was entirely abnormal. The owners of padi-lands along this 
line readily made over their fields to the cultivators on the condition that the latter should 
work them for three years entirely for their own profit; it was not till the 4th year that 
the owner received a fifth share. But since the "linie" has been done away with, and the whole 
of Great Acheh brought under the direct control of the Dutch government, the old relations 
between landlord and tenant have gradually revivived, though the letable value of the land 
is now less than in former times, in consequence of the long war.] 

29 1 

while the passion for gambling rife among the chiefs and other persons of 
rank dissipates the fruits of the most parsimonious management. Under 
such circumstances they have recourse to mortgages {pciigald). 

The humane but unpractical doctrine of Mohammedan law that the 
mortgagee may draw no profit whatever from the mortgage, but must 
rest content with the assurance of receiving back in full the sum he 
lends, is just as little observed in Acheh as in other Moslim countries. 
The gala or mortgage contracts ') are entirely controlled by the adat. 

The objects most commonly pledged in Acheh are wet rice-fields, 
gardens, keudes (shops), boats, golden ornaments, weapons, fishing-nets 
and the like. Houses and cattle are rarely mortgaged. 

The old adat requires a pledge to be given to the money-lender of 
double the value of the sum lent. Should the object pledged be lost 
through the fault of the mortgagee, the latter is obliged to pay to the 
mortgagor a sum equal to the amount of the loan. 

Besides this very ample security for his capital, the money lender 
also enjoys the use of the thing pledged. Where it consists of weapons 
or personal ornaments he adorns therewith his own person or those of 
his wife and children. The unpleasantness of ruffling it in the finery of 
others, which must soon be restored to its owner, is not felt in the 
slightest degree by the Achehnese. He reflects that if he did not get 
these things in this way, he would have to buy them for himself, and 
the fact that he is able to do so is sufficiently evinced by his having 
lent money to others. So far from concealing the source from whence 
he derived such ornaments and weapons, he plumes himself on having 
command over the most costly possessions of others. 

A shop taken in mortgage is often let to a third party. Money is 
lent on vessels only by seafaring men, who use the pledges themselves. 

Umongs and lampoihs are either cultivated by the mortgagee entirely 
for his own benefit, or else given out by him in inazuaih contracts. 
They are always mortgaged when follow after the harvest, and given 
back by the mortgagee at the same season, i. e. in the case of rice- 
fields always in the musem luaih blang ^). Permission of the owners of 
the adjoining lands is not required, but as these mortgages are some- 
times sustained for a very long time, the contract is concluded in the 

1) To take on mortgage = gala\ to make a h.ibit or occupation of so doing = geuinala. 
The object pledged = gala or geunala. 

2) See p. 258 et seq. 


same ceremonial manner as contracts for tlie sale of lands. It not iin- 
frequently happens that a mortgaged piece of land remains so long in 
the hands of a single family that it comes to be regarded as its property, 
and the original transaction is in all good faith forgotten. This results 
in tedious lawsuits between the heirs of the original owners and those 
of the moneylenders. 
Pledging of Fruit-trees etc., held without any right of ownership over the ground 

fruit-trees. 1 • i 1 r 11. 

on which they stand, — as tor example when they grow on a padang 
or common or on the wakeueh strip on each side of the river — may 
also be the subject of a contract of mortgage. The man who takes 
such gardens in pledge has of course no right to remove the trees. 
Rights over We have seen that the rights of the owner of an umong are limited 
grounds, during the niuscm liidili blang by the fact that everyone is free to graze 
his cattle thereon. In addition to this privilege, everyone has a right 
to fish in any umong in that "open" season, both with fish-traps and 
the fishing-rod. Even in the musem piclie blang, during which the access 
of cattle to the rice-fields is so strictly forbidden, fishing with the rod 
on the umong of others is allowed, but not the setting of fish-traps. 

Fish-ponds {»idn) made by the owner on his own land are excepted 
from this permission, and it is likewise forbidden to catch fish with 
any other implement than rod and line in neuheuns or Ihoms which 
others have constructed on the banks of creeks or rivers. 

Mortgaging of such ponds or staked enclosures seems not to be 
customary, though they pass into the hands of others by sale and 
succession. It even occurs at times that a man sells his rice-field, yet 
retains his ownership of the fish-pond he has made there. 

There remains one further point of interest with regard to the money- 
lending system of Acheh. The Achehnese contract of mortgage compre- 
hends within itself a transgression of the rule of law prohibiting all 
usury [I'iba), a rule unconditionally insisted on in the teaching of Islam 
and much emphasized by every school. The popular conscience, how- 
ever, finds this form of transgressing the commandment less repulsive 
than the direct covenant for interest on a sum of money lent. The 
receipt of goods in pledge does not excite even an outward show of 
aversion; pledging is in fact permitted, nor is this the only respect in 
which the adat of the country has somewhat modified the hukom in 
practice. But where it is said of anyone that he "makes dollars yield 
interest" [pculaba reungget, piibungong remigget, or pajoh biinghng 


retingget) then every hearer knows that the expression conveys a reproach, 
although such usury is by no means exceptional in Acheh. It is a slur 
on the character of the man of whom it is said, much as though he 
were accused of being an opium-smoicer or a drunkard. 

The ingenuity of mankind in the in\ention of means of evading the law 
finds full exemplification in the Achehnese practice of seeking innocent 
names for actions condemned by their religion. 

The Achehnese dollars (piastres) taken by traders to Penang to buy 
goods '), yield them in that port a profitable premium varying between 
I and 5"/o; 4"/o 's reckoned by them as the average premium or basi 
as they call it. The moneylender who advances capital to the trader for 
a trip such as this stipulates for half this basi, so that there remains 
for the trader the other half, plus whatever he may make by his venture. 
The basis adopted for such contracts is the rate of basi prevailing when 
the loan is made. This rate can always be easily ascertained from the 
traders or seafaring people who have last come over from Penang. 
Thus the moneylender is protected from loss, and the trader runs 
very little risk, as the rate seldom falls much in the time required 
for the voyage to Penang, and he no sooner reaches that port than 
he at once proceeds to change his money. 

This method of raising money is called meudua basi = "dividing the 
premium into equal portions". The account is balanced every three 
months, so that, taking the premium at its average rate, the money- 
lender gets 4X2^8°/,, per annum for his money. Sometimes when 
the basi is very low, the moneylender bargains for the whole, so that 
the trader has to consider whether he can make a profit with such 
dear money. 

Such contracts are, on account of the usury (riba) which they imply, 
condemned by the Mohammedan law equally with the Achehnese system 
of mortgage, nay even just as much as undisguised borrowing with a 
covenanted rate of interest. Yet the former process is in the popular 
estimation quite different from "making dollars yield interest", and the 
pliant consciences of the Achehnese are thus appeased. 

Worse still, the name of lending in consideration of a part or the 
whole of the basi is used simply as a euphemism for ordinary usury, 
without any money-changing or journeys to Penang. For instance the 

1) These dollars find their way back to .\cheh in exchange for pepper and betelnuts. 


lender says to tlic borrower, "I lend you lOO dollars in consideration 
of 6 dollars premium [basi) after 3 months"; or still better to maintain 
the appearance of a sharing of the premium he says, "the basi will in 
three months amount to 12 dollars, half of which will be your share 
and the other half mine". 

In loans with a covenant for interest the moneylender generally 
requires a pledge in addition. The object of the pledge or mortgage 
in such cases is not so much to draw a profit for this short period 
from the object pledged, as to have security for the repayment of the 
capital with interest. The moneylenders are thus content with a pledge 
equil in value to capital plus interest, and so do not require one of 
double the value of the sum lent, as in ordinary mortgages. 



§ I. Proposal, Betrothal and Marriage. 

Girls many in Acheh at an earlier age than perhaps in any other Child-mar- 
Mohammedan country of the Eastern Archipelago. 

We meet indeed in all such countries cases of what is called in Java 

l-tiwiii gantiing, where children are united in wedlock in form only, but 

the actual consummation of their marriage (Jav. nano akc) is deferred 

to a maturer age. Examples of this occur in Acheh also; it is then 

said that the husband "is only married and does not yet frequent the 

house" '). In Acheh, however, girls of 8 to lo, nay even of 7 years of 

age are actually handed over to their husbands, even where the latter 

are grown up or elderly men. So universal is this custom, that parents 

whose daughter at the age of 8 — 10 years does not occasionally share 

her husband's bed are greatly concerned thereat, unless there are spe- 

special reasons for her not doing so. 

Such a reason would be, for instance , that the girl is the daughter Possible 

. , , , , , ■ 1 A t causes of late 

of a savyid and thus may wed none otiier tiian a sayyid. As these marriage of 

Mohammedan nobility are not very numerously represented in Acheh, "■°'"'=°- 

and as it is an exceptional occurrence for a girl to leave her parents' 

gampong to follow her husband, her high birth may sometimes compel 

a girl to wait for years for a husband, or even to become an old 

maid, a class that is, apart from such cases, almost unknown in the 

Native world. Or else it may happen that the daughter of some chief 

of note is formally married to the son of another chief, but the great 

distance of their homes from one another, and perhaps also small local 

i) Kaxoen mantong^ haiia woe. 


wars may delay for years the "home-coming" of the husband. These, 
however, arc manifestly exceptional cases. 

The Achehnese declare that these early marriages are conducive to 

the preservation of feminine strent^tli and beauty, tliough observation 

would lead us to form a contrary opinion '). 

Superstitious When a girl reaches what the Achehnese regard as the marriageable 

promoting ^b^ without having yet had a single suitor for her hand, it is believed 

the marriage j-j^^j. (^j^gre must be some suijernatural agency at work. It is looked 

of girls. ° 

upon as certain that she must have in some part of her body something 
)nalang or unpropitious, which stands in tlie way of her success. 

The numerical value of the initial letter of her name is assumed as 
the basis of a calculation for indicating the part of her body which is 
to blame. When this has been ascertained , the girl is placed on a heap 
(if husked rice [hreu'eli] and the spot indicated is slightly pricked with a 
golden needle, so as to draw a little blood. This blood is gathered up 
by means of a wad of tree-cotton [gapciicli) which is then placed in 
^n sgg> P^rt of the contents of which have been removed to make 
room for it. A little of the girl's hair and some parings of her nails 
are enclosed in a young cocoanut leaf, and finally all these things arc 
tlirown into the running water of the nearest river or stream. 

This is one of the most usual methods of doing away with the 
inalang [both malang). There are also other ways, such as for example 
the throwing away of an old garment of the unlucky one into a river 
or at a place where three or four ways meet (simpang). The old women 
are the most trusted advisers in such cases. 
Relative so- The Achehese adat is in entire agreement with the rule of Moham- 

cial position , , , r . 1 • ■ 

of man and ntcdan law that a woman must not marry a man ot social position 
^^''^^' inferior to her own. 

The pride of the Achehnese also withholds them from marrying their 
daughters to foreigners, unless they are of Arab blood, or have been 
long settled in the country and have attained some position. To other 
strangers they only give women who have some slave blood in their 

An exception to this rule is made in favour of devout hajis from 

l) Cases in which young wives suffer serious physical injury are rare, since great cir- 
cumspection is enjoined on the husband by the adat and public opinion. On the other 
hand, where -Vrabs or other strangers wed Achehnese virgins, such painful results often 


Java, and especially those from Krinchi , who in earlier times often 
made a long stay in Achch or settled there permanently. But the 
better class of Achehnese have always objected and still object to 
giving their daughters in marriage to the Klings (K/i-iig), who are spe- 
cially known as "strangers" (ureueng dagang). Only such Klings as have 
amassed some wealth as traders or have the reputation of religious 
learning are allowed to wed the daughters of Achehnese of consideration. 

The doctrine of Islam, that there exists no such thing as a mesal- 
Uance for a man, is also liberally applied ; yet men set a high value 
on alliances which connect them with good families. Both for the honour 
of it, and also for political reasons, an uleebalang always tries to obtain 
the daughter of one of his equals in rank as a wife for his son. The 
tuanku prefers to choose his consort from among his own relatives or 
the families of the great uleebalangs. Most marriages of chiefs and of 
their nearest relatives are regulated by purely political considerations. 
At present they are not as a rule concluded without the consent of 
the Dutch Government. The best way of allaying a feud between two 
clans consists in bringing about a marriage between a man of the one 
and a girl of the other. Women who arc far beneath their husbands 
in position generally take the second, third or fourth place in the ranks 
of his spouses. 

A young man usually marries for the first time at the age of from Proposal of 
1 6 to 20 years. The proposal comes from his side; the custom prevalent "^* 
in West Java, according to which the father of a young girl seeks out 
a suitable son-in-law, is regarded as incorrect by the Achehnese. "The 
well does not look for the bucket", they say '). After numerous confi- 
dential discussions between the parents of both parties the first official 
(though in form also confidential) step is taken through a go-between 
called seulangke ^). 

Although to outward seeming the seulangke simply renders hireling 
service, for which he is allowed by the adat a recompense of one 
dollar for every bungkay (25 dollars) of the dowry, the post is one 

1) Hanthm mon mita tima. This proverb cannot be taken as in itself proving the rarity 
of such a case, for in Java, vfhere a proposal of marriage on the woman's side is not 
uncommon, it is still called liinipang angulati alu = "the mortar seeking the pestle"; and 
even the people of Minangkabau, among whom the rule is for the relations of the woman 
to seek her a husband, have a saying anau mauchari jangjang = "the aren-tree seeking 
the ladder". But in Acheh this practice is really exceptional. 

2) Mis visit to the girl's parents to make the proposal is called nuusculciingaiy. 


much sought after even by persons of some consideration. It is a 
position of trust, and in former times the scidangki- had to take the 
place of the bridegroom when tlie latter broke his promise. For this 
reason he must be the equal of the bridegroom {Unto) in rank and 
position. lie should further have that knowledge of the world and 
polish which bestows on an Achchncse the title of urciicng titha 
(= "elder": see p. 75 above). He must be completely master of the 
proper forms of social intercourse, and particularly of intimate inter- 
course such as this, and must be in a word an accomplished person. 

Appeal to Before the seulangke begins his task, the requisite appeal to lucky 
lucky omens. 

omens must be made. Long before the formal proposal, a sort of cal- 
culation is made which is supposed to show whether a blessing can 
rest on the union; for example the numerical value of the initial letters 
of the names of both are added together antl divided by a certain 
number, and the remainder left over after this division shows whether 
it is wise to commence the negociations or not '). 

There are some however who prefer to place their trust in Allah 
and omit all calculations of this sort ^). 

The day for the visit of the seulangke is also carefulh- computed by 
counting off against the days of the month the four following words: 
langkali (a pace), raseuki (brcadwinning), pciitcuinn'cn (meeting), and 
iiiawht (death). Dates on which the words raseuki or peuteuiiiuen (the 
latter for preference) fall are considered favourable ■''). 

On all ceremonial occasions the Achehnese has recourse to eloquence, and 
time has gradually reduced to crystallized forms the "speeches" to which 
domestic and social life gives rise. Thus the seulangke says to the father of 
the girl whose hand is sought^): "Your servant has directed his steps 
towards you, because Teuku N. has requested him so to do. He begs 
you to be so good as to take his child (son) as your slave". The 
answer runs as follows: "That would not be fitting, seeing that we be 
but humble folk". The seulangke now presses his suit more closely, 

1) The books or tables used for these calculations are called phay (Arab, u^j; tlic act of 
working them out is miiphay. The common name for a memorandum book containing notes 
on these and similar subjects (Jav. pr'imbon) is teh (Arab. V^)j see p. 198 above. 

2) This wilful neglect of calculations generally in vogue is called in Java li(!lo or 
gudil btiiguttg and much practised by pious men {santris). 

3) These time-tables or methods of computation are known as sural kiilika or kalika\ 
those most in use are the Malay kiitika lima^ ktitika tiijoh^ bintang tiijoh or bintang dua 


and in the end the father repHes : „We are willing to agree to all that 
you have said, but as you know the saying holds good of us, reaching 
till' goal yet not wholly attaining it, coming close up yet not actually 
touching it (i. e. we are of a truth too lowly in rank, and our dealing 
in the matter will leave much to be desired); therefore your servant 
knows not how to reply" '). 

After this, the symbolic language is dropped, and a preliminary ar- Betrothal 
rangement made. The seulangke now returns to those who sent him, ^' 
makes his report of the negociations and invites the parents of the youth 
to accompany him to see the keuchi and tcungkii of the gampong 
where the girl resides, in order to fix a day for the me tanda kong 
narit, i. e. the bringing of a token that the agreement has been ratified 
— a betrothal gift in fact. 

The parents of the young man have of course, before taking the Marriage an 

• • /■ I 1 ? 7 ' r 1 ■ affair of the 

first step, asked the permission of the teungku and keuchi ot their own gampong. 
gampong for the proposed marriage, and the parents of the girl on 
their part do the same with their local authorities after the seulangke 
has paid them his first visit. Marriage is in fact by no means a mere 
family matter, but at least as much an affair of the whole gampong. 

Thus the keuchi has power to prevent a proposed marriage from Authority of 
taking place. The headman of the girl's gampong will seldom refuse connection" 
his consent. He has no reason to object to her marrying a man of ^^'•'i "'»>■- 


the same gampong and is even less likely to raise difficulties to her 
taking a husband from elsewhere. In the latter case the children of 
the marriage may be regarded as trees planted by a stranger, of which 
the owner of the garden has the exclusive enjoyment and profit. It is 
only where the keuchi' himself or one of his relations or chiefs has 
his eye on the girl, that he sets himself to baffle the parents when 
they suggest disposing otherwise of her hand, and so tries to compass 
his private ends. 

The usual form of the dialogue of the parents of the girl with the 
keuchi' is as follows: "X (the seulangke) has just come, bringing a 
message from Teuku N. (the father of the young man) asking for our 
child for him (n.b., the father). What is now the Teuku's {= your) 
good pleasure?" He replies, "What part have I in the matter? be it 
as it seems good to you, whose child it concerns". 

l) For a description of the betrothal ceremonies of the Malays of the Peninsula, see 
Skeat's Malay Magic pp. 364 — 368. {Translator). 


On the other hand it often Iiappcns that a keiichi" opposes the mar- 
riage schemes of a young man, especially when the object of his affections 
resides in another gampong. 

The authority of the keuclii' in such matters is considerable, as he 
is practically regardetl as being, in a general sense, the representative 
of the interests of the gampong. No one disputes his fiat when he, a5 
headman of a sparsely populated gampong, forbids a youth to seek 
his spouse outside its limits, since the children of the marriage 
would thus be lost to his own gampong. Here we see a further 
instance in which the kcuclii' , in conformity with the popular saying, 
is actually the "father" of the gampong, and keeps his "children"' in 
the right path. 

The best day for the /;/(• tanda koiig narit is in its turn carefully 
ascertained by computation. The favourite tlay for this ceremony is 
that of the full moon, the 14'h of the month. 

To what an extent marriage is an affair of the gampong may further 
be gathered from the fact that it is not a relative of the would-be 
bridegroom, but the keuchi, the teungku, certain elders and the go- 
between who undertake the presentation of the gift of betrothal. The 
latter is, indeed, received in the house of the bride and in her name, 
but those who actually receive it are the authorities of her gampong. 

Besides the betrothal-gift they bring what is called the ranub dbng 
or "standing sirih". This consist of a dalong or large round food-tray 
with a detachable wooden upright standing in its midst. Round the 
latter are placed long rows of sirih-leaves tastefully arranged in the 
hollow base. The rows are piled up all round from the lowest layer 
upwards, and on the top are laid betelnuts, and boiled eggs gaily coloured. 

As soon as the suitor's envoys have entered the house where the 
girl lives, there ensues one of those stereotyped discussions, as prolix 
as they are droll, which always accompany important domestic occur- 
rences in the domestic life of the Achehnese '). 

l) These prolix discourses on weighty occasions are also to be met with in other parts 
of Sumatra and in Java. A good example of those employed in Menangkabau may be found 
in the essay on the adats in use at the appointment of a pangulu nndiko in the district of 
Kapau, lithographed at Padang in 1890 at the house of R. Edw. van Muien. But even in 
Java, where the adat has suffered so much from the great power of the chiefs and a foreign 
nile, there are floods of stereotyped oratory at every village wedding. These "speeches" 
sometimes furnish important historical and ethnographical material, for crystallized forms of 
this kind generally live longer than the adals on which they are founded. 


The entrance (or "going upstairs" as the Achehnese call it) takes 
place at the invitation of an eloquent elder of the bride's gampong. 
The ranub dong is brought forward by way of preliminary, and sirih is 
offered to the guests. Thereupon an elder of the bridegroom's gampong 
speaks as follows: "Teuku keuchi', Teungku and elders of this gampong, 
our visit to you is on account of a little word which your servant 
desires to address to you. Our wish is to present N. (the suitor) to 
you as your slave. How then, do ye accept or not?" The answer, 
given by one of the elders of the girl's gampong, runs as follows : 
"Your servant esteems your words as a command, but as far as this 
matter is concerned, I know naught of it, you had better appl)- to X" 
(indicating a fellow-elder). 

The first speaker then turns to X, and repeats his question, but 
the other gives him the same evasive answer. This reference to others 
and pretence of ignorance sometimes goes on for a considerable time 
in the most serious way. When the farce is thought to have lasted long 
enough, the person last addressed replies: "There is no objection to 
the purpose conveyed by your words, which we esteem as a command ; 
but whose child is this bridegroom N. ? Who was his grandfather and 
who his great-grandfather"? As soon as the genealogy of the suitor 
has been set forth up to a certain point for the benefit of those present, 
the matter is considered settled. One of the elders of the suitor's 
gampong now produces the tanda or token of good faith, a valuable 
gold ring or hair ornament [biingbng preiie') or the like, and hands it 
to the keuchi' with the words "Let this serve as a token". The ranub 
dong or "standing sirih" is thereupon brought up and presented to the 
fellow-villagers of the maiden with the words: "Behold one or two 
sirih-leaves which we have brought to offer you". The meeting concludes 
with a feast. 

From this time forth the pair are one another's betrothed. Should Creaking of 
the engagement be broken off later through the man's fault the tanda " '' '^ 
remains in the possession of the bride; but where the blame is on 
her side it is returned. When, however, the father of the bride breaks 
his word without reasonable cause, he must also pay a fine, generally 
a pretty heavy one, to the uleebalang. 

In Acheh, just as in other parts of the Archipelago, no father allows 
his daughter to become betrothed so long as she has an elder sister 
still unbespoken, unless the latter happens to be blind or insane. Nay 


even in such a case it is usually sought to provide the unfortunate 

one with a husband, thouyli the ordinary requirements as tf) rank and 

position are not of course insisted on in such instances. 

Mutual ic- The peculiar relation between the son-in-law and the bride's parents 

icri°s-ii°-la\r '" Acheh, a relation which must be regarded as a rudiment of earlier 

and sons-in- social Conditions, commences from the time of the betrothal. Neither 
law, . . 

the engaged man himself nor his parents may at any time durmg the 

continuance of the betrothal cross the threshold of the girl's parents. 

Nothing short of a death in the family can create an exception to 

this rule. 

All intercourse between the son-in-law and his parents-in-law is, even 
after marriage, regarded as improper and restricted to the unavoidable. 
This notion, which still prevails in some parts of Java, but seems to 
be gradually dying out in that island, subsists in full force in Acheh. 
Son-in-law and father-in-law shun one another's presence like the 
plague, and when chance brings them together, pass with averted faces. 
Should it be impossible to avoid communicating with each other, they 
do so through the friendly interposition of a third person, whom they 
each address in turn. 

Such a situation might at first sight appear to be untenable, for the 
Achehnese daughter really never quits her parents' roof. According to 
their means, the latter cither vacate a portion of their house in favour 
of each daughter that marries, or supply the lack of room by adding 
on to the main building or putting up new houses in the same enclosure. 
Yet when the son-in-law visits his wife or "comes home" as it is 
called '), he takes no notice of her family even though he remains for 
months or even years at a time within the same enclosure. To facilitate 
this discreet behaviour, which is strictly prescribed by the adat, after 
every absence whether long or short, he notifies his return by coughing 
loud and long, so as to give the inmates time to get out of the way 
and leave his part of the house free for himself and his wife and 
children. In a respectable faniil)' this coughing is the only audible in- 
terchange of thought between the parents of the woman ami her 

Well-to-do parents often have a house built for a daughter who is 
approaching the marriageable age. Others furnish an outfit, which is 

l) IVoi'; see p. 295 above. 


ilescribed on tlie principle of pars pro toto by the expression chub tika 
hantay = "the sewing of mats and cushions". 

The engagement lasts sometimes only a month, but sometimes longer, 
even as much as a year. The day for the marriage is fixed by the 
seulangke in consultation with the parents of the bride. Mo'lot (Rabi' 
al-awwal), Adb'e Mo lot (Rabi al-akhir) and Kandttri Bu (Sha'ban) are 
regarded as lucky months, and the 6A, 14th and 22i"l of the month 
as propitious days. 

The all-important day is preceded by three evenings of feasting in 
the house of the bride {dara bard) ; these derive their name from the 
custom of staining the hands and feet of the bride w'xth gac ha {= henna, the 
Arab, hinnd) '). The guests arc nominally supposed to assist at the per- 
formance of this portion of the bride's toilet. 'Y\\& gacha evenings are called 
phun gacha, dua gacha and llice gacJia ^), i.e. the first, second and third gacha. 

In point of fact it is not the guest, but a woman professionally 
skilled in the art, who applies the dark-red stain so much admired to 
the hands and feet of the bride. At least one old woman of the family, 
the grandmother for instance, takes an active part in this performance, 
in order that a greater blessing may rest thereon. Many women are 
invited, and partake of the evening meal in the bride's house, which is 
.decorated to suit the occasion. They spend a merry evening pleasantly 
varied by the recital of hikayats or stories, till about midnight, when 
they retire. 

None of the bridegroom's people may partake in these festivities, 
even though the two families are related to one another. Nor are any 
feasts held in the bridgroom's house on these nights. 

Well-to-do people convert one or more of these three nights into a 
festival for all the inhabitants of the gampong by organizing a piasan. 
This word (Mai. perhiasan) signifies a feast of a secular description 
characterized by various popular amusements, and generally enlivened 
by fireworks and illuminations. Among the most popular amusements 
on such occasions are what are known as Rapai ^). Of these the most 
favourite performance is the hanging of red-hot chains on the bare 

1) The Malays have the same custom, which Ihey call b'crhhiei. (^Translator). 

2) At Mecca also one of the festive gatherings to which a marriage gives occ.ision is 
called hhtna after this very practice of staining the bride's hands and feet. See my Mckka. 
Vol. II p. 165. 

3) See below Vol. II Chapter III, J 3. 


body. The ratcb sadati and pidct are also very popular. The people of 
the gampong take care that the players are entertained at the expense 
of the family who give the feast, while they themselves enjoy both 
the good cheer and the show that accompanies it. 
The .iiulam- The three nights of feasting are only distinguished from one another 
by the arbitrary changes in the form of the amusements. The day 
following the third gacha-xi\^\t is called the andain-^z.y [urde meu'andam), 
since the bride's toilette, of which the andam (i. e. the shaving off of 
a portion of her hair) constitutes the part esteemed as of the highest 
importance, is completed thereon. 

From two to four days beforehand the people of the gampong issue 
invitations to guests both male and female to attend this ceremony. 
They assemble at this kanduri at uncertain times; the concourse lasts 
from early in the morning till about 3 P.M. They are received by the 
gampong-folk ; the women go to the sambe likot, while the men take 
their place in the srainbc rcnnycun. Food is placed before each of the 
guests immediately on his arrival. 
Presents from No guest comes with empty hands. They hand over their respective 
le gues s. gifts, one a dollar, another a goat, and so on, to the elder who acts 
as master of the ceremonies {peittiiiiang jatnee or peutimang bu'et).V^\\erQ 
the bride is the daughter of an uleebalang, even buffaloes are presented. 
Where a married couple attends the feast, the man and his wife bring 
separate gifts '). 

Those invited as guests are for the most part, besides intimate friends, 
the relations of the bride and more distant kindred of the bridegroom. 

The adat contains a curious rule in regard to the return gifts to be 
made to those of the two last-mentioned classes. To such of them as 
belong to a generation younger than that of the bride '), a sum of 
money must be paid at their departure equal to double the value of 
the gifts which they have brought. 

The andam must be performed before midday; no blessing rests on 
it unless it take place while the sun is still ascending {itroc c'). Though 

1) This offering of gifts is called lcumciinluc\ In Javanese it is known as nyumhan^^ in 
Sundanese as nyambiing. 

2)The bridegroom's relations, even though they be really senior to the bride in age, are regarded 
as junior to her when they are younger than the bridegroom. It is usual for husband and 
wife each to address the others relations in the same way as that other would do. Thus an 
elderly man may be heard calling a mere boy aiang (elder brother), if the latter be the 
elder brother of the speaker's wife. 


the work is actually done by an expert, all the women assembled in 
the sramoe likot nominally take part in it, and the professional hair- 
dresser must nowise neglect to invite at least the most important guests 
to share in the andam, the invariable answer being, however'): "It 
matters not ; I leave the task to you". 

Before the commencement of the andam the necessary steps must 
be taken to avert evil influences, and means employed to ensure what 
is technically called "cooling". 

As we know, in the native languages of the E. Archipelago all happiness, 
peace, rest and well-being are united under the concept of "coolness", 
while the words "hot" and "heat" typify all the powers of evil. Thus 
when a person has either just endured the attack of a "hot" influence, 
or has luckily contrived to escape it, the adat prescribes methods of 
"cooling" in order to confirm him in the well-being which he has 
recovered or escaped losing. The same methods are also adopted for 
charming away evil things and baneful influences, the removal of which 
is regarded as an imperative necessity. For instance, the completion of a 
house, and various domestic festivities, are made the occasion for a 
process of "cooling"; so also with a ship when newly built or after the 
holding of a kanduri on board ; and before the padi is planted out the 
ground must be purified from "hot" or dangerous influences. 

In Acheh this cooling ^) is called peusijiic (making cool). The most "Cooling" 
effective method of cooling consists in besprinkling the person or thing 
to be cooled with teupong ttnveuc ^), i. e. water mixed with a little 
rice-flour; also the strewing over the object of a little husked and 
unhusked rice mingled together {breu'eh pade). 

The besprinkling with tcupong taweu'e is performed with the help 
of certain small plants'"). Among the plants which always appear in 
this improvised holy-water sprinkler are included the sisijuc (a name 
which in itself implies cooling) and the manc-manoc ■') to which 

1) Hana peui^ idin Ion to' andam. 

2) Peiichrueng in the highlands. 

3) This properly means unflavoured flour or dough, since no salt or flavouring component 
is mixed with it. 

4) The use of this "neutralizing rice-flour" (^tlpong tawar) with a sprinkling-brush formed 
of leaves and twigs of certain plants is also universal among the Malays. See Skeat's Malay 
Magic pp. 77 — 80 etc. (^Translator). 

5) This cooling plant is known at Balavia as chakar (^elsewhere chochor or sosor\ bel>ek 
(the Sundanese bun /iris)., and is used in Java as in .\cheh for certain mysterious purposes 



betel-nut stalks or naleu'eng samlnt ') arc added on certain occasions. 

Thus before the young padi is planted out, a besom composed of 
small plants of inane' -manb'e and sisijtic and a betel-nut stalk, is set up 
in the midst of the rice-field, after being first dipped in teupong taweue 
and used to sprinkle the centre of the field -). On the 44111 day after 
a birth, marriage or death, the liidaii (midwife) or an old "wise woman" 
comes and besprinkles the topmost portion of all the posts of the house 
with viane' -inanbc or sisijiie . A boy who has completed the recitation 
of the Quran is "cooled" in the same way by his guru or teacher. So 
too, one who has just returned from a long journey, or been saved 
from shipwreck, or fallen into the water and narrowly escaped drowning, 
or a child which has fallen from the steps of the house, etc., is "cooled" 
by an old woman of the family. 

In the case of human beings, the cooling with flour and water is 
followed by what is called peusunteng '), i, e. the smearing of a little 
bii kiinyet (glutinous rice made yellow with turmeric) behind both cars. 
In some cases this last only is done, and a child that has fallen from 
the stairs is simply smeared behind the ears with a little clay from 
the ground on which it falls. 

All these coolings, except when recognized experts are employed, should 
be performed by old women ; otherwise the good result is very doubtful. 

To return to the ceremony of shaving the bride's hair {andain) *). The 
requisites for the andam and the cooling that precedes it are placed 
ready on two trays (talani). On one is husked and on the other un- 
husked rice (brcmli and padc), on each stands a bowl of teupong tazveue 
and a small besom composed of a sisiju'e plant, a viane -manb'e plant 
and some 7ialcu'cn<r sambo, a kind of grass the flowers of which look 

of "cooling". The plants so used are however i-eally of different sorts, but the same name 
is given to all alike in different localities. All have this in common, that the shape of the 
leaves bears a rough resemblance to a duck's foot. 

1) This is, according to Dr. P. van Romburgh, the Eleiishie India. It is known in Java 
as jampang and used as cattle-fodder. 

2) See p. 264 above. 

3) The general meaning of the word, like that of its equivalent in Malay, is "smearing 
or inserting behind the ears", and is used to describe the custom so much in vogue among 
the youth of Acheh of wearing flowers stuck behind their ears. It is also used however in 
a technical sense to denote the smearing with yellow rice for purposes of cooling. [The 
Malay word Krsuiithig means according to Marsdea the wearing of flowers or other orna- 
ments on the head or behind the ears. (^Translator).'] 

4) Cf. Skeat's Malay Magic p. 353 et seq. 


as though they were plaited. On one of the trays is also placed a 
young cocoa-nut opened by cutting it through the centre in an indented 
line, the two halves being then neatly fitted into one another, a razor, 
a pair of scissors, a bowl of perfumed oil, a similar bowl with some 
dried sandal-wood {kleiunba) and a little seitrciiina (called kiihl by the 
Arabs; used by women to blacken their eyelashes and the edges of 
their eyelids), and two eggs. 

An old woman first sprinkles the patient with tcupong taweu'c, then 
scatters a little breu'eh-pade over her body and smears her forehead 
with some cocoanut water from the cocoanut which is placed ready 
for the purpose. Before commencing her task, she repeats the formula 
prescribed by Islam for the inauguration of all matters of importance 
— Bismillah! "in the name of Allah!" The scattering of the breiieh- 
padc is performed seven times, each being solemnly counted '): sa, 
duel, lliic, pcu'ct, limhng, nam, tujomoh! This counting is also employed 
on other occasions, such as the use of charms, and in children's games. 
The bride is thus prepared for the actual ceremony of the andam. 
Up to the time of marriage the hair is drawn back as tightly as pos- 
sible. Now however, the shorter hairs are combed forward from ear to 
ear and shaven to the depth of about a fingersbreadth along this line. 
The married woman continues to wear her hair in this manner until 
she has some children; she thus "andams" for several years. But the 
andam properly so called is that from which the great feast before a 
marriage derives its name, and is performed by an expert. The latter 
receives as her recompense among other things the remnants of husked 
and unhusked rice and eggs left over after the "cooling". 

So soon as the andam proper has been completed by the application 
of some of the above-mentioned cosmetics (perfumed oil, kleumbd and 
seureiima) the female guests assembled in the sranib'c likot, who up to 
this have been merely onlookers, proceed to assist in the work on 
hand; one after another they apply behind the ears of the bride the 
supplementary "cooling" of yellow glutinous rice which we have noticed 
above under the name of pcusuntcng. The bride acknowledges this 
token of friendly interest by an obeisance (senmbah), and at the same 
time receives the gifts presented to her by these guests. 

Mothers whose daughters fall sick very often make a vow that they 

i) Cf. the notes in the Tijdschrift voor Binnenlandsch Besluur Vol 7 p. 221 as to the 
counting up to seven as an introduction to invocations of gods or spirits in Timor. 


will have a geundrang or drum to play at the andaiii festival should 
they recover and live to be married. 

In such cases the geundrang with its indispensable accompaniment 
of two flutes {srune) is played in the back verandah during the actual 
operation of shaving, and afterwards the musicians complete their per- 
formance in the front part of the courtyard [hu'ai). They have a special 
tune called lageii nieu andain for such occasions. 
The toilet Let US now sketch briefly the toilette in which the bride is dressed 
' after the andain. As upper garment she has a bajt'e or jacket richly 
laced with gold thread, over the sleeves of which sundry kinds of 
bracelets are tightly fastened. These comprise the puntu and ikay on 
the upper arm, the sangga near the elbow, a bangle (gleucng) on either 
arm, pushed up to near the elbow, round the middle of each fore-arm 
a sazi'e, and a pnc/io' on each wrist. All the ten fingers are adorned 
with two or more rings each. Over the jacket is thrown a long cloth, 
the ija siniphi. It is folded in four and passed round the waist, and 
the two ends are brought up crosswise over the breast and allowed 
to hang down behind over the shoulders. 

Around the neck there is first suspended a golden chain (gaiiclinig) 
to which are attached horizontally one below the other three half moons 
of gold each set with precious stones and finely wrought at the edges. 
Above this comes an cuntite or collar, usually coinposed of golden 
knots of the same kind as those which are to be found attached to 
the corners of an Achehnese sirih-bag [boh chru). In the ears are the 
great earrings (subang) which give such unbecoming width to the holes 
in the ears of the Achehnese women. 

The silken trousers (sihtenl' or Incul') are not as a rule even partially 
covered with a loin-cloth [ija pinggang). Such a garment is indeed in- 
dispensable for the adults of both sexes in Acheh and serves as a token 
that the wearer is a Mohammedan ; but the bride is usually of im- 
mature age, and neither propriety nor religion demand so much of children. 

On either foot the bride wears a krnnchong or anklet of silver or 
suasa (an alloy of gold and tin), which is hollow and has tinkling 
silver bells inside it. 

On the forehead rests a patani dhbc (forehead-plate) which curves 
gracefully down to the cheeks; on the right and left sides of this are 
fixed golden bosses {anthig) from which little chains furnished with 
bells hang down to the level of the ears. One or two golden bungbng 


jeitnipa (champaka-blossoms) are stuck into the hair above the forehead, 
wliilc on the back of the head are worn both the golden bung'ong 
prciic and the real flowers known as bung'ong peiikan or market-flowers, 
strung on threads. Over the left ear a golden biingbng sitnteng ') may 
sometimes be seen projecting. 

Round her waist the bride wears a girdle, with a broad square golden 
clasp {peundeng) set with precious stones in front, the belt itself con- 
sisting of a silver chain. 

Dressed out in this heavy attire, loaded with costly ornaments, the 
bride now awaits the all-important evening with some of her next of 
kin to bear her company. 

The proceedings in the house of the bridegroom are of a simpler 
description. The malani gaclia or night of the gaclia is not celebrated 
at all. On the andam day a feast is given, but only to such of the 
bridegroom's relations as have to travel some distance to share in the 
ceremony of the evening. Here too the relatives bring gifts {teuiiwuntuc), 
the presentation of which is governed by the same adats as in the 
bride's case. 

The bridegroom also arrays himself in rich attire for the wedding 
ceremony. He usually wears a white jacket {bajei-), striped silk trousers, 
and a loin-cloth of the sort known as ija krong Lam Gugob from the 
place of its fabrication, all richly laced with gold thread. On his head 
is placed a cap with a gold crown {tmnpo' meiiili) surrounded with a 
purple handkerchief {tanghdo). In his waistband {talb'e kii'eng) on the 
left side is thrust a dagger, differing somewhat in appearance from the 
ordinary Achenese reunchmg; this is called skvdih. 

The handkerchief tied up so as to form a bag {bu?igko'ih), which 
contains all the requisites for betel-chewing, an indispensable adjunct 
in the eyes of every Achehnese, is borne behind the bridegroom by 
one of his comrades. 

Where the parents of the bridegroom have taken the geundrang 
vow on his behalf (and this happens just as frequently in his case as 
in the bride's), certain ornaments which properly belong to women only 
are added to his costume, such as bracelets and anklets and flowers 
fastened in the folds of the handkerchief which is wound round his head. 
The drum and the two flutes do not begin to play until the evening. 

l) See the e.\plan.ition of pcusiiiitciig on p. 306 above. 


The music is continued during the procession to the house of the bride. 
The wedding This great procession is called inainplcnc ') and commences at q P.M. 


or even later. 

All that \vc have so far described appertains to the Achehnesc adat, 
and the same is true of the mampleuc and the subsequent proceedings 
at the house of the bride. At the same time it is regarded as a matter 
of course that no meeting can take place between the bride and 
bridegroom until the requirements of the Mohammedan law arc fulfilled, 
i. e. until the marriage contract has been executed in the prescribed 
form. This ceremonial is seldom deferred until the coming of the 
bridegroom to the bride's house; it generally takes places during the 
course of the wedding day, or even a day or two before, in the ;«iV/«<75rt/! 
of the bride's gampong, or in the house of some neighbouring iitali-in. 

On a later page we shall describe the peculiarities of the marriage 
contract and add some remarks with reference to the dowry, the fi- 
nancial results of marriage, etc. F"or the present let us simply assume 
that the requirements of the hukoin (religious law) have been satisfied, 
and that adat can thus take its free course. 

The fellow-villagers and relatives of the bridegroom have now assembled 
in great numbers. After the young man has paid respect to his parents 
and brethren by a farewell obeisance, he is led down the steps of the 
house by some of the "elders". As soon as his feet touch the ground 
at the foot of the .steps, one of the elders exclaims '^ Allaltitmvia (alii 
'^ala sayyidina Muhammad" , i. e. "O God ! let thy blessing rest on (be 
gracious to) our Lord Mohammad." All the bystanders shout aloud in 
chorus salazvaUee ! These formulas are repeated three times ^). 

The bridegroom is now placed in the midst of his fellow-villagers. 
He is frequently attended by some of his nearest relatives, but seldom 
by the nearest of all, and never by his father, as this would conflict 
with the relations which subsist between parents-in-law. The procession 
is headed by the musicians, who have here again a special tune for 

i) This word is identical with the Malay m'c'mplai^ which is borrowed from the Tamil, 
but it is never used (like the original word) in the sense of "bride" or "bridegroom". It 
is used in Acheh to indicate the procession alone. The expression ja' euntat mamplcui is 
indeed employed in the sense of to escort the bridegroom on his way to the bride's house, 
but to the Achehnese these words convey the notion of joining the "bridegroom's pro- 

2) Salawa/e is the Achehnese pronunciation of the .\rabic Qallii 'alaih = utter the galat- 
prayer for him (the Prophet). 


the occasion. This tune is changed when the party enters the gampong 

road or rather the path which leads past the entrances of the enclosures 

within the gampong. 

Amid re-iterated cries of salawaleee\ they at length arrive at the 

enclosure of the bride's parents, where the people of the latters' gampong 

stand drawn up in rows ready to receive the guests. The new comers 

form up in line opposite to their hosts but the bridegroom is kept 

entirely in the background and as it were concealed from view. 

There now begins another curious colloquy. An elder of the bride's Colloquy 
_ between the 

gampong asks: "Are ye all come, oh Teukus (i. e. gentlemen)", and hosts and the 

those addressed reply in chorus, "We are here to serve your will". ^"^^ ^' 

The questioner resumes, "Have ye all directed your steps hither, oh 

Teukus?" which question receives the same reply as the last, and 

finally the chorus of guests give a like answer to the question "Have 

ye all walked hither, oh Teukus r" 

The three questions are then repeated in turn by all the principal 
personages of the bride's gampong. When this child's-play has lasted 
long enough in the opinion of the master of the ceremonies, it is thought 
time to offer sirih and its accessories to the guests, who all this time 
remain outside the house. This civility is introduced by an elder of 
the bride's party in the following words : 

"Your servant desires to speak a few words, for which he invokes 
the permission of you all, oh Teukus. Be it known unto you then, 
illustrious Teukus, that my brothers here desire, if Allah the Exalted 
so will, to go into your midst (i.e. in order to present the sirih) ; should 
they in so doing crowd or incommode you through predestined fate 
(God forbid that they should do so on purpose), then, oh Teukus, we 
humbly crave your forgiveness". 

An elder among the guests replies as follows in behalf of all : "Good, 
be it according to the words of the Teuku (the last speaker) to us all. 
What says the Teuku? He says that his people wish to come amongst 
us. As regards crowding or pushing that is pre-ordained by God, if it 
be not done with the feet, we shall gladly submit to it *). It matters 
not; we agree with great pleasure (lit. "on our head") that the Teukus 
come among us". 

1) This Arabic formula "■in sha'llah'' is very frequently used by the .Vchehnese in con- 
nections which would sound incorrect to Arab ears. 

2) This sentence is expressed in the Achehnese rhythm {sanja'). 


The ranks now break up for a moment. The people of the bride's 
gampong go through the polite form of offering the guests sirih and 
bctcl-nut, and in the meantime they greet one another in more familiar 
fashion and speak the language of ordinary mortals. When this interval 
has lasted long enough the files close up again. The colloquy that now 
begins consists practually in a series of pressing invitations to come in 
("come up", the Achehnese says, since his house stands on posts), and 
polite excuses on the part of the guests, who declare themselves con- 
tent with their place in the front part of the enclosure. All this politeness 
is for the most part expressed in the form of paiitdns. The Achehnese 
pantons have this in common with the Malay, that the first two lines 
are not in any way connected in point of sense with the second pair, 
but serve chiefly to supply rhyming words. For an Achehnese who 
has some knowledge of the pantons most commonly used, the repetition 
of the first strophe at once suggests the meaning of that which succeeds 
it. The verses of the Achehnese pantons arc also generally in sanja, 
that is to say, each consists of four parts of which the two middle 
ones rhyme with each other, while the last word of each verse rhymes 
with the last word of the next '). 

Let us now see how the reciters help to shorten the evening of the 
wedding; we shall call the elder of the bride's party A and the elder 
of the bridegroom's gampong B. 

A. Weil then o Teuku ! I have something more to tell thee, even 
as the elders are wont to say : 

A dove flies afar. 

A young quail twists in its flight. 

/ offer you sirih, '1 enku, pray accept it, 

Now may I proceed to disclose to you %vhat is in my heart. 

B. A pgrkutut's cage in a garden of flowers, 
A casting-net in a bamboo case. 

It is no harm tliat you should disclose it, 

I am milling to hear that luhich is in your heart. 

A. A mountain-bird with red feet. 

I) E. g. 

Basa Mculayii | phang tciipdi \ — basa Achch | pisang teuchucho \ 

Be' li teuku \ meutul'eh-lag'elt \ • — saleh-saVeh | tiialam ka jula. | 

Mere teup'c/i rhymes with Ach'ch and lageh with salch ; also Icuchuclia with jula. 


Bramoe-leaves form his food. 

Come nearer, Teukus, up to the stairs of the house, 

Wash your feet and step into the front verandah. 

B. A langsat-tree on a grave, 

They cut it down and fashion it into supports for a fly-wheel. 

Teiiku, wait for a moment, 

Allotv me to consult with my comrades. 

A. In the inner room is a bag for glutinous rice. 
In the central passage an earthenware jar for sugar. 
Rest, o Teuku, be it but for a moment ; 

Should it be longer, it will give me pleasure (lit. "on my head"). 

B. A braleuen-trce in the midst of the front enclosure. 
It casts its shadow even on to the seat above the stairs. 

We come here but once in a long time, only one single time '). 
Let us be received in the front courtyard, that sufficeth. 

A. A scare to frighten squirrels in the garden of Lubo', 
Men tap the ajren-palm and take the sap. 

You have come hither from (name of the guests' gampong) 

It is 7101V but a small distance from tvhere you are to the sitting-mat. 

B. On the Padang *) grows keutumbct (a plant used as a vegetable), 
Sirahet-fruits tied up in the corner of the garment. 

Once in a long time, barely one single time. 

So far (as to where we now stand) is enough, this sufficeth. 

A. In the field of Tama' is petroleum. 

In Pante Teungoh ("Middle Bank") is perfumed oil. 

Stand no longer on the ground, Teuku, 

Ascend into the house and sit upon the sitting mat. 

B. Let us go the sea-shore to catch the cuttle-fish, 
Let us bring it home and salt it. 

For this evening let us even remain on the ground, 

Later on we can take our places on the sitting-mat. 

A. A maja-tree in the midst of the garden. 

Thereon may we hang the sirih-bags of the guests who arrive. 

You have just come from yonder, from afar. 

Step forward now to the sitting-mat. 

1) We who are not familiar acquaintances have no claim to be received within the house. 

2) Close to the Meuseugit Kaya. 


B. A kcutapang-tree in the midst of tlic country. 
Jati-trccs in the forest. 

Yonder gentleman (the bridegroom's father) hath charged us to come 
hither ; 

Bui as Jar as here (where we stand) sufficetlt. 

A. The buah-nona-trec in the midst of the moon. 

If a branch falls therefrom it forebodes an earthquake, 
Stand no longer in the front courtyard, Tenkics, 
Perhaps rain will come and your clothes be wet. 

B. Glumpang-trees with abundant shadow on the border of the field, 
Pomegranate-trees at the side of the gampong-path. 

Let us then return to the entrance of your gampong-path, 
That we may put up our umbrellas, and then our clothes shall not 
get wet. 

A. What is that pong-pong ') sound in the gampong? 
They are busy pounding the flour for a (wedding) feast. 
Withdraw not, Teukus, to the entrance of the gampong, 

For there a cocoanut liollowed (by squirrels) may fall upon your heads. 

B. A wag-tail on an apong-tree, 
A bco's nest in a jati-tree. 

We bear respectful greetings from our fellow-villagers. 
Now that 'we have come hither by the gampong-path -), let us return 
home again. 

A. A brujoe's nest ') in a panjoe-tree ^), 

A wood-peckers nest in a virginal cocoa-palm. 

You shall not return, Teukus, 

Until you first come and sit on the mat. 

B. Under the house is an earthenware lamp. 
Within the house is a lamp of brass. 

We have come over the earth, 

Hotu can lue ascend into the house, zve should soil the mat! 

A. Fresh and salt water mingle in the sea, 

This water overspreads the swamps. 

Even though it be soiled that matters not (to the owner), 

1) The sound of the ricc-pounder in the Iciisoiig or mortar. 

2) I. e., now that we have conducted the bridegroom to your gampong, our tasli is completed. 

3) The bird called m'erbah in Malay. 

4) A sort of wild cotton-tree. 


He will replace it with a new one after the wedding feast. 
B. In Lam Baro sugarcane is planted, 
In the III Mukims keutila (katela) is sown by dibbling. 
With due respect, Teukn, 
Here it befits us to remain, this sufficeth. 
And so forth. The concluding pantons are as follows: 

A. An asan-tree grows in the market. 

Under the asan-tree is a space for the panta-game ') 
From early morning it has come to be late in the night, 
The rice is prepared for you on the platters. 

B. In the midst of the fore-courtyard they are drying the padi, 
They are cleaving wood under the seulasa (the sitting-place at the 

top of the steps leading up to the house). 
Well then Teuku, ascend yourself first. 
To set in order zchat is still lacking. 

A. A baju is sewn with a fine needle. 
Clothes are woven in the III Mukims. 

For two or three days past all has been ready. 

The people who are giving the ivedding-feast have provided everything. 

B. Go to the shore, go and angle for fish; 
A prahu at sea with two masts. 

You, Teuku, go first, and we shall follow. 

Such is the custom at wedding feasts. 

A. Dark-coloured glutinous rice is made into eumpicng-) 

The bamboo is cut down to make a ladder to the platform beneatli 
the roof. 

Your servant then goes first up the stair. 

All of you, Teiikus, will give him leave to do so I 

After the guests have entered, and before they have all taken their 
seats, the orator of the bride's gampong says: 

The young buloh-bamboo stands and thrives, 

Let us cut off ten pieces (for bobbins) to wind silk upon. 

Now, Teukus, wipe away the perspiration. 

And take your rest on the sitting-mats. 

The bridegroom however does not accompany the others into the 

1) A sort of Achehnese game at marbles. 

2) Roasted glutinous rice, which is eaten with a sort of lump sugar or jujubes {giita tare"). 


house; while the guests who have escorted him thither are enjoying 
their sirih in the front verandah, he stands as it were concealed with 
a few who remain to hold him company. A fresh dialogue between 
the orators representing the two gampongs introduces his entrance. 
The demand A. Well then, whcrc arc ye all, Tcukus? 

for the bride- . . 

groom. "• and his companions in chorus: Here are your servants! 

A. Now then, by the will of Allah the Exalted, you, Teukus, have 
partaken of the sirih which your servant has set before you ; I will 
now let you know what lies upon my heart. 

B. Well then, Tcuku ! now as regards the sirih that you have laid 
before us, your servants have enjoyed it by Allah's will. You wish 
now to tell us of that which lies upon your heart. Do so then, Teuku! 
We hearken with joy (lit. "on our head"). 

A. Well then, Tcuku, we have yet another word to say. We shall 
now implore you all, Teukus, using the words of the weavers of talcs '): 

A pa' iko ^) with red shoulders , 
A wagtail flies, making the world shake. 
Respectful greetings from grandmother peunganjn ') 
She lays on us the task of demanding the bridegroom at your hands, 
oh Teukus ! 

B. What saidst thou, Teuku? 
A pa' iko etc. (as above). 

Now we too have a word to say, that you, Teuku, may impart to 
the elders. 

You said: "A pa' iko with red shoulders". 

But it has flown away to Blang Pangoii *). 

Teuku convey our greetings to grandmother peunganjo, 

Say, Teuku, that there is no bridegroom among us. 

A. Well, Teukus, 1 have already told grandmother peunganjo of 
this, and what was her reply? 

1) Ureucng mcurulic. Haba ruin' properly means a story handed down by word of mouth 
and composed wholly or in part in rhyme, which is usually of a laughter-moviug character 
and singles out some special person or thing for ridicule. It is however used to designate 
other compositions also, which cannot be referred to the headings of tiikayats., pantons and 

2) A yellow bird often kept in cages. 

3) The name given to the old women who act as the attendants of the bride throughout 
all the wedding ceremonies. 

4) ,\ gampong in the XXVI Mukims. 


Molasses in a cup, 

A rambutan-fruit with a red skin. 

Say not that he is not here, he ivhovi you have come to bring. 

What IV ay is this to jest? 

B. Well, Teukus, what say my comrades here ? 
Pi is planted, and stakes are placed to prop it, 
Kundur is planted, and let creep along the ground. 

Tlie reason why zve said "-no" to grandmother pennganjn. 
Is that we know not the appearance of the bridegroom. 
As we are all stupid and confused, be so good as to describe his 

A. Well then, Teuku, I have enquired of grandmother peunganjd, 
and she says that the bridegroom's appearance is described in the ten 
following headings : 

In the first place, says she, his hands are dark. 

For they have been stained with hinna for three days past. 

Secondly his clothing is laced with gold thread. 

Which follows the pattern of the cloudy firmament. 

Thirdly, he is shaven ') [andaui) upon the forehead , which was done 
before the sun attained the zenith -). 

Fourthly, she describes him as clad in a white baju. 

With golden buttons as it were heaped together over the breast. 

Fifthly he wears a battle-sword ^) with octagonal handle. 

On which the smith has worked for thirty days. 

Sixthly he wears a handkerchief on whicli is embroidered gold thread 
in the shape of a twisted cord. 

While flowers hang from it and an itltr clicuiiiara (an old-fashioned 
gold ornament) is fixed therein. 

Seventhly, a cap with a golden crown, 

Round which arc eight smaller crowns, set with precious stones. 

Eighthly, I may mention the sirih-bag. 

From whose four corners hang the golden acorns. 

Ninthly, when ye came, ye cried aloud with one voice, salazcale ^). 

The tenth token is; four clans, eight families, sixteen relatives, thirty- 

i) See p. 304 above. 

2) See p. 304 above. 

3) A pattern of sikiii now as rave in Aclich as it is eagerly sought after. 

4) See p. 310 above. 


two individuals in all counting friends and acquaintances, have consulted 
together (to make him a bridegroom). 

He it is, whose hand the Teungku held in the presence of two 
witnesses. Make him over to all of us now, O Teuku! As the .saying 

Thatch made of sugarcane-leaves at three mas the thousand '). 

The agreement lias already been entered into, let it he carried out to 

R. Well then, Teuku, according to your request we give him over 
to you, if Allah so will'-): keep his feet from straying, follow his in- 
clinations in what is right, help him in his difficulties and check him 
if he transgresses '). 

A. God willing, we do so with joy (lit. "on our head"). 

The bridegroom is now sought out, and led up the stairs of the 
house by his companions. He stops half-way, however, to be besprinkled 
with husked and unhuskcd rice [breu'eh-pade) ^) by an elder of the 
bride's gampong, who sits at the top of the steps. The elder, while 
he throws the contents of the small bowl or bate by handfuls in the 
face of the bridegroom (who protects himself with a fan) pronounces 
the following blessing: 
Blessing in- "O Allah, bless Our Lord Mohammad and the family of our Lord 
voked on the Mohammad. 


Far be the curse, far be the calamity, let there be good fortune, let 
there be peace, may you have prosperity, may you have happiness, 
may children and grandchildren be given you, in numbers as the mibo- 
bushes in swampy land, may you beget three children in the year 
and marry two of them every year, may your children succeed each 
other at long intervals" (ironically said, as appears from what follows), 
"while the elder sister is still only able to lie on her back, may the 
younger be born; may you have children in trusses like padi in swampy 
land ; may you have children like a plant that ever shoots up afresh, 
may it be even as a bamboo with many joints". 

1) One mas {jnaili) = J dollar. 

2) See note on p. 311 above. 

3) These four injunctions are always given to one into whose charge another is committed. 
Even in the letters of appointment of the sultans with the nine-fold (chah sikureucng) 
the same precepts are enjoined on the subjects in respect of a newly appointed (or rather 
confirmed) chief, or of a servant [kadani) of the Sultan, or other ofticials. 

4) This cermony is called seupcui' hreuch-padc. 

In Java the bridegroom, before entering the house of the bride, must The entrance 

<• • 1 1- 1 i • ^ 1- ^ ■ of the bride- 

perform various symbohcal acts, sucti as tramphng an egg to pieces, m-oom. 

stepping with the bride over a buffalo-yoke (pasangan) etc.; the 

bride also washes the feet of her future spouse. We must leave to 

conjecture how much of this may have been customary in Acheh in 

earlier times; at present the only observance of this sort is the placing 

at the entrance of the inner room [jtiree] where the bride awaits the 

bridegroom, a dish filled with water, in which are placed an egg and 

some leaves of the "cooling" plant known as sisijue ^); in this the 

bridegroom is expected to dip his feet for a moment as he enters the room. 

The bride sits in the jure'e on a tilam (a heavy thick mattress) covered 
with a cloth and bespread with costly sitting-mats. Two piles of cushions 
(hantay iiwusadeice) stand on the mat against the wall. The young man's 
place is prepared at the bride's right side. She is attended by some 
peiinganjos^ old women from both gampongs who are interested in the 
marriage. Of these mistresses of the ceremonies one acts as directress, 
and also attends the bridegroom for the first few days when walking 
through the house and courtyard of his parents-in-law, to familiarize 
him with the place and to serve him. 

The bridegroom is conducted to the door of the jure'e by an elder, 
and there handed over to the care of the peunganjos. In some districts 
it is customary for one of these women to pretend to hold the door 
of the room shut from within. The other who leads the young man 
in, now advises him to surrender to the woman who guards the door 
his reiinchdiig'), the dagger which forms an indispensable adjunct of the 
equipment of the Achehnese man. 

In order to cover the bride's shame, one of the peunganjos constantly 
holds a fan before her face so as to prevent the bridegroom from looking 
at her. He takes his seat by her side, and now begin what are for 
both of them the most disagreeable moments of their wedding. Guests 
and fellow-villagers are now permitted to stare at them v/ithout restraint 
through the door and the interstices of the walls. 

Certain female members of the bridegroom's family (sometimes even 

1) Cf. p. 305 above. 

2) He is supposed to surrender it as a "token," or as a recompense to the door-keeper 
for opening the door. This giving up of the reunchong is also a farce; the weapon being 
introduced tor the purpose by the pcungaiijo herself. The bridegroom has, as is customary 
with all guests on entering a strange house, laid aside his weapon on arrival. 

din" feast. 


his mother) attended by a number of women from their gampong, are 
now admitted, but not till after the bridegroom has entered the juree. 
They are, however, received in the back verandah {sram'o'e likot), the 
proper abode of the women. 

There they receive a formal greeting, but without pantons, so that 
the reception is over in a moment '), especially as they are offered no 
sirih. They then go straightway into the jiirec, where their presence 
somewhat strengthens the bridegroom's courage. 

The bride now gives the first token of wifely obedience in the form 
of a long obeisance {sciiiiihah) at the knees of her spouse, a token of 
homage which he accepts with a gracious gesture {smnbot). At this 
point the adat prescribes his presenting her with a sum of money (say 
10 dollars), which one of the peunganjos receives and puts in its proper 

The wed- Meantime food is placed before tlie guests, and on such occasions 
the idaiigs must be very complete. The adat lays down fi.xed rules for 
the arrangement of these idangs, especially in connection with wedding 
feasts. The same rules hold good for the idangs of the Feast of the 
Birthday of Mohammad, and for what are called , guest-meals", i. e. 
feasts oft'ered to specially honoured guests ^). These, however, arc not 
in any sense of religious character, nor are they, like kanduris, marked 
by the recitation of selections from the Ouran or litanies witli final 

On ordinary occasions an idang consists of two dalongs or presentation 
trays, of wjiich one contains the rice, and the other 4 or 5 bowls of 
meat or fish together with gule (called sayur in Java) and sdiiibay (Mai. 
saiiibal). Such an idang is intended for 4 or 5 persons. 

The feast-idangs just mentioned are formed in a more complex 
manner. In the one dalong there are first placed a number of bowls with 
meat and vegetables in their gravy (gule). This lower layer is covered 
with pisang-leaves, on which are set a large number of small dishes 
{chipc chut) of fish, meat, eggs etc., and savibay. These layers arc piled 
up to as many as nine deep, each being separated from the next by 

1) Na lieu keiinoc liian ilumiia'r — "are ye all there, ladies?"; and the reply is: tia 
kani'oi uldii-tuan = "we are here at your service". 

2) Such formal entertainment is called fciijaiiici^ and takes place on certain special oc- 
casions, as for instance on one of the rare visits paid to one another hy those who are 
connections by marriage. 



plantain-leaves. Round the whole is placed a cylindrical piece of tin 
or other metal called glong, which serves to prevent the dishes from 
falling when the dalong is moved about. The whole stands beneath a 
handsomely worked cover in the shape of a great truncated cone, the 
summit of which is sunk inwards so as to resemble a crater '). Over 
this again is spread a costly cloth covering known as si'iiliul). The 
second dalong contains simply rice, but is also provided with the pro- 
tecting cylinder named glong, the cover {sange) and the cloth {seuluii>). 

To complete a feast at which idangs are used, after the rice and 
its accessories which we have just described, two more dalongs are 
brought forward, one filled with glutinous rice -) and a sweet, savoury 
sort of plantain sauce ^), and the other with sundry sweetmeats *). 

If there are no persons of importance among the guests, two complete 
idangs will suffice, one being set in the front or stair verandah for the 
women. Should the food run short, more rice etc. is simply added. 
But distinguished guests often have a separate itlang a-piece or between 
two of them, while the numerous attendants (nrkaiis) who invariably 
accompany them, are given everyday fare. 

At a wedding-feast, as on all ordinary occasions, the male guests are 
served first: the women must wait till their lords have finished'). 

The bridal pair have also food served them, and are even requested 
to eat out of the same dish ''), but their share of the feast is of course 
merely nominal. After partaking of this pretended meal, the young 
pair are smeared behind the ears with yellow glutinous rice ''), the 
bride by the bisans (the relatives of her husband), the bridegroom by 
the peiinganjos *) of the bride. On this occasion the bride receives from 
each of the bisans a gift in monev, about one or two dollars. 

1) These covers are called satigc. The handsomest are manufactured in 1 lava ; tliey are 
formed of pandan-leaves and are adorned on the outside with coloured threads and on the 
inside with goldleaf. The common hemispherical covers m.ade elsewhere are called sant^c 
gamfdng to distinguish them from these beautiful sangi Daya. 

2) Bu leiikat: see p. 31 above. 

3) Fisang peungal^ the Javanese kola'. 

4) These are called pamajoh.^ a word really meaning "food", but which in the colloquial 
is almost synonymous with the Javanese jajan pasar. 

5) All, both men and women, who join in escorting the bridegroom arc for this evening 
called blsan. This name is at other times only used to express the connection between the 
two pairs of parents whose children have married one another. 

6) This is called tneurab hu = "to eat rice close together". 

7) See p. 306 above. 

8) See p. 316 above. 


This night is seldom enhvened by celebrations ; piasans (a word 
which signifies much the same as is expressed by fantasia in the jargon 
of the Levant) take place frequently on the three preceding evenings, 
but not on the wedding-night itself There is more than enough to do, 
however, for the time wears on to morning before the completion of 
all the ceremonies etc., which we have described. 

Achehnese weddings of course exhibit some small local differences. 
We have assumed, too, that the bride and bridegroom belong to two 
different gampongs, which is often though by no means always the 
case. Where they are of the same gampong, their fellow-villagers divide 
themselves as it were into two parties, one headed by the teungku 
and the other by the keuchi', and all the formalities are gone through 
as though two gampongs were interested in the event. Speaking generally, 
however, the above description holds good for the whole of Great Acheh. 

At the conclusion of the feast, the bridegroom, escorted by his 
fellow-villagers, returns once more to his parents' house. 

The next day nothing of note occurs, but towards night, about First days of 

o ii L ■ J • , 1 ■■ ■ J- 1 1 / - ■^ i.- 1 married life. 

8 P. M., the bridegroom agam goes to his ivife s house yii.'oc), attired as 
on the previous evening, but now escorted by a small number of 
peimganjos, half of whom are men and half women. 

A bedstead is now set up in the juree or inner chamber, furnished 
with a mosquito-net and a vast pile of cushions ') with costly embroidery. 
In the centre of the room is a thick square sitting-mattress [tilam due), 
for one person, intended for the bridegroom's use, and at a short distance 
from it a sitting-mat for the bride, who thus sits on this occasion on 
a lower level than her spouse. 

Some of the peunganjos who accompanied the bridegroom, reinforced 
by one or two of their fellow officials from the party of the bride, 
now prepare to conduct the young man to the juree. The bride is at 
this time in the back verandah; she is supposed to wash the feet of 
the bridegroom on his entering the juree, but as a matter of fact she 
is relieved of this task by one of the old women, and her share in 
this ceremony is confined to a timid glance from a distance. 

As soon as the bridegroom has taken his place on the tilam, the 

l) Bantay siison = piled up cushions somewhat resembling our bolsters in shape. The 
two ends are covered with shining metal plates or tampo's. As many as fifteen of these are 
to be found in a well-furnished Achehnese bed. The sleeper of course only uses one of these 
pillows, while the rest are for show only. 


bride is led in, still in full dress. Once more she makes a deep obeisance 
before her husband, after which he gives her a small money present — 
say a dollar. 

A repast in the form of an idang is thereupon brought into ihn jiiree 
but as a rule remains almost untouched. As soon as it has been removed 
the bride retires to the back among the women, while the bridegroom 
joins the male guests and the fcllow-villagcrs of the bride in the front 

Meantime they both change their heavy clothing for the simpler 
garments in which the Achchnese arc wont to sleep, for the social 
concourse in the verandahs soon ceases, and the leading pennganjo 
comes to summon the bridegroom. She leads him into the jurce 
and up to the curtained bed. Here another peunganjo (of the bride's 
party) hastens to unroll the sleeping-mat, which has up till now 
purposely been left rolled up on the mattress {tilaiii eh), to give 
the aged dame the chance of earning her dollar "for the unrolling of 
the mat" '). The bride is now constrained, not without a considerable 
amount of scolding and persuasion on the part of her mother and the 
peunganjos, to enter the room and join her husband. One or two 
peunganjos keep watch in the /«;vc, in order now and then by a friendly 
word to encourage the pair to greater mutual confidence. They try 
especially to induce the bride and bridegroom to lie with their faces 
turned towards one another, though in Acheh they do not go as far 
as in Java, where the desired position is sometimes effected by the 
assistance of old women, friends of the newly-married couple ^). 

The 3d, 5tli, 7th, loth, 4oih, 44th, 5otli, loo'h and ioootl< days after 
birth, marriage or death are regarded throughout the Eastern Archipelago 
as epochs of importance, and are always marked by some ceremonial 

In Acheh the first three are those most strictly observed after a 
wedding. On the third, fifth and seventh days after marriage, the family 
of the bride offers the bridegroom and his peunganjos a formal feast ') 
such as that described above. 

The whole of the first seven days are however more or less festal 

1) Upah Iciii/ig t'tka. 

2) They sometimes thus admonish the liride: "Turn not your bacl< to your husband, 
for is a sin", by tapeiilikol lakoe^ d'tcsa. 

3) Pe)ijam'ti\ see p. 320 above. 


in character. Bride and bridegroom are daily dressed out in their 
wedding toilette. Early in the morning the bridegroom must repair to 
the meunasah of the bride's gampong, where, as we have seen, all the 
young men of the village are congregated. He is escorted by a number 
of his male peunganjos, who bear behind him an unusually large and 
well furnished sirih-bag. He must now greet each of these young men 
seperately, and hand him the great sirih-bag [bungkoili). He must also walk 
through the gampong from time to time, and wherever he sees a number 
of men sitting together, must hasten up. to them and proffer sirih. 

Should he fail in these civilities towards his new fellow-villagers, the 
young folk punish him by smearing the steps of the bride's house 
with ordure ') by night, the intention being that the bridegroom 
should step on the unclean thing when first leaving the house in the 
morning. As a rule, however, he is forewarned in time and escapes 
this disagreeable material consequence of his shortcomings ; it is con- 
sidered a sufficient revenge to make him ashamed. 

About 9 A. M. this peregrination is completed and he returns again 
to the house of his parents-in-law, to enjoy his morning meal with the 
bride and the peunganjos in the juree. The rest of the day, however, 
he spends in his own gampong. 

During these first seven nights the young married pair always sleep 
under the surveillance of a peunganjo. Should the extreme youth of 
the bride render living as husband and wife difficult in the earliest 
days, and even where this would cause no hindrance, the Achehnese 
are averse to such great intimacy in the beginning, and call it '^adopting 
the institutions of the Arabs" -). In other Mohammedan countries also, 
as in Java for example, we find this same dislike of the full use of 
marital rites early in wedlock. 

All that the husband bestows on his wife before she is thrown on 
him for her support is called biaya, and the custom requires that he 
should give her no biaya until the seventh evening after marriage. This 
first biaya may be in kind''); it then consists of such things as fish. 

i) K'cttnong t' = "he has obtained filth" is the technical expression for this punishment. 
It is also applied in other cases, as for instance where a young man neglects constantly 
to attend the noisy traweh-recitations in the meunasah duiing the fasting month. Sec p. 
234 above. 

2) Pcitto^ hitkoin arah. 

3) This is called biaya tiiasa'' (lit. "ripe" or "cooked"). 


plantains and other fruits, sirih, pinang, tobacco and gambir. It is 
however more usual for the husband to give money '), and the amount 
varies from six to eight dollars multiplied by the number of biingkays 
of gold in his wedding-gift. At the same time he gives her a complete 
suit of clothing known as seunalcn (from scilai — "to change" said of 

This last gift is reciprocated by the bride on the seventh day (i. e. 
the day that succeeds the seventh night) by a gift of equal value in 
money or clothing to the bridegroom ; this is also called setmalen. 
Where it consists of clothes, the adat prescribes that the bridegroom 
should at once don them and go back thus arrayed to his parents' house. 
The "cool- Not until after the morning meal on this seventh day is the wedding- 
° ■ feast {keitreiija) regarded as concluded. It follows, therefore, that at this 

point the bridal pair require a "cooling"'-^). For this purpose they both 
sit down at the entrance of the juree with their legs stretched out 
straight in front of them. Boughs of the cooling plants already enumerated ') 
are dipped in flour and water [teufong tawciie), and their feet are be- 
sprinkled therewith. The bridegroom alone is smeared behind the ears 
with yellow glutinous rice ; this is done by a peunganjo of the bride. 

Meantime the mother, aunts and sisters of the bride assemble in the 
passage [rambat) of the house to take leave of the bridegroom on his 
departure for home. He anticipates their greeting by a deep obeisance, 
in return for which they give him money presents of an amount equal 
to those which he has presented to the bride during the first seven 
evenings as a recompense for her scunibali ■*). 

All these tedious ceremonies of the first seven days are sometimes 

simplified by being performed one after another on the first or third day ''). 

The eighth The wedding is now at an end, and after these seven busy days 

'"^'^' there succeeds a compulsory day of rest for the bridegroom. On the 

eighth day it is understood that he must not visit the bride [ivoe); 

1) Biaya mciintah (lit. "unripe" or "raw"). 

2) See p. 305 above. 

3) See pp. 305 — 6 above. Thus both uiulergo the fcnsijiic\ llio bridogioom ahmc the 

4) See p. 324 above. These gifts of the young husband are called sciincumhah. 

5) The saying is, ur'oc thie gcupeutujoh = "they have made the third day into the 
seventh". The converse of this may be observed in Java, where the ilamilans prescribed 
by the adat for the 3d, 5th and 7th months of pregnancy, often resolve themselves into a 
single feast held in the 7th month. 


whoso transgresses this rule of adat is sure, according to popular super- 
stition, to be devoured by crocodiles {buya kab). 

On the ninth day the husband as a rule comes to his new home, 
but unaccompanied by the companions who on the previous occasion 
carried the great sirih-bag behind him. On this occasion, too, there 
is no ceremonial idang prepared for his reception. 

After the lo'li or I2'h night the bridegroom retires for a time to his Biaya. 
parents' house, to give his parents-in-law needful repose and an op- 
portunity to gossip over the events of the wedding feast. An "elder" 
is sent to him, generally at the new moon, on behalf of the parents 
of his spouse, to press him to return to his wife. The young man yields 
to the invitation, and now brings with him the first real biaya for his 
wife ; this is understood to mean a monthly present of money brought 
by the husband to the wife, so long as she continues (in conformity 
with certain rules which we shall presently notice) to be maintained 
by her parents. This monthly allowance amounts on the average to 
about four dollars. 

This visit of the husband usually lasts about eight days, and is 
separated from the next by an interval of about fourteen days. He 
continues going backwards and forwards in this way for about six 
months ; not till then does he become a habitual inmate of his wife's 
house '), if his original home is in a gampong close at hand. Where 
the paternal homes of the young couple lie at a great distance from 
one another, it will depend entirely on circumstances whether the man 
continues to be a mere occasional visitor to his wife's house or 
entirely exchanges the abode of his parents for that of his wife. 

After they have commenced to live as man and wife, the husband Gift of the 
gives to the woman who has sacrificed her maiden state to him three „.;fg 
gifts, fashioned of gold or silver according to the circumstances of the 
giver. These comprise a waist-belt [talbe kii'eng), which consist of a 
golden chain closing in front with a clasp made of gold or suasa (a 
compound of gold and tin), a wrist-chain (talbe jarbe) worn like a 
bracelet, and a finger-ring {eiinchien). At a distribution of effects in 
consequence of divorce or the death of one of the pair, these objects 
remain the property of the woman, whilst ail other personal ornaments, 

l) Thus the wife is very properly called prumoh — ph riimoh^ the "mistress of the 


with the exception of raiment in he most Hmited sense of the word, 
arc always regarded as the husband's property and dealt with ac- 

As the reader will have remarked, it is the adat which has so far 
almost exclusively controlled an Achehnese marriage as we have 
described it ; we have laid more stress on the customary element than 
upon the rules of law. Most of these customs are, it is true, looked 
on as indispensable by the Achehnese where the bride is a virgin, even 
though the bridegroom has been already several times married and is 
of a considerable age. At the same time exceptions may be made by 
agreement of both parties, nor will anyone dispute the legality of the 
marriage on the ground of neglect to perform some of the ceremonies 
above described. 
Summary of Let US now Summarize the Achehnese marriage customs which are 

adats having c ■ t r i i ■ t r • -rx ■ ■ i 

leeal conse- °' '"^P^'"'-''"'-^' "om a legal point oi view. 1 he principal are: 
queiices. ,11 'Y\\Q power of the keuchi' (headman of the gampoiig) to prevent 

a marriage on grounds connected with the interests of the gampong; 

2". The betrothal-gift {tanda k'ong narit) and its legal consequences. 

3". The adat-law under which the woman can never be requiretl by 
her husband to leave her home with him, nay is even prohibited from 
doing so. The only exception to this rule is where both her family 
and the authorities of her native place consent to her departure. This 
usually happens only (at the instance of course of the husband) where 
the woman's family is very inferior in rank or social position to that 
of the man, so that the customary gifts etc. on his part are not fully 
reciprocated on hers. In such cases the marriage is said "to be without 
adat" [liana adat). 

4". The gift after consummation of the marriage and the rules which 
govern it. 

Anyone who is not entirely a stranger to Mohammedan law will not 
need to be reminded that these four matters are, to use a much-abused 
term, among the "departures" ') from the law of Islam which characterize 
the native race. 

By-and-bye, when we proceed to examine the chief results of marriage 
as affecting the children born thereof, and the property of the married 
couple, we shall find that here also the social life of the Achehnese 

1) The word in the original Dutch is "afwijkingen" {^Translator'). 


is controlled by "ancient popular customs in conflict with Islam 

in this sense, that they suggest a customary law existing in the con- 
sciousness of the people" '). 

Before passing to this subject, however, we must gain some 
knowledge of the marriage contract as it exists in Acheh. Our assuming 
this important negociation as already complete has not in any way 
affected our description of the wedding ceremonial; the less so, as the 
contract is generally concluded at a different time and place from that 
of the actual meeting of the bride and bridegroom. 

§ 2. The Marriage Contract. 

It is impossible to describe the marriage contract in Acheh with the Nature of 

the marriage 

desired accuracy without first giving some details as to the rules of contract 
Mohammedan law on this subject, and the "departures" from this law, "i|amn,edan"' 
which prevail throughout a great portion of the E. Indian Archipelago, 'a^*- 

These rules of law have, it is true, been dealt with by Mr. L. \V. 
C. Van den Berg in his "Principles of Mohammedan Law" ^), but very 
imperfectly, some of his principal facts being erroneous, and the ne- 
cessary notes on the actual practice in the E. Indies entirely wanting. 
In his recent essay on the "departures" from these laws in actual 
practice in Java and Madura, the same writer has made it clear ^) that 

1) Orilinaiiec of the 14th March 1S81 with raped to the administration of justice among 
the native population of Great Acheh^ loith an explanatory memorandum by Mr. T. H. 
Der Kinder en.^ Katavia 188 1, p. 17. 

2) "'Bcginselen van hct Mohammedaansche recht''"'. 

3) In the Bijdragen van het Koninklijk Instituut voor de Taal- Land- en Volkenkunde 
van Nederlandsch-Indie^i at the Hague, for the year 1892, p. 454 et seq. This essay is, 
according to the writer (p. 455), based on various writings "supplemented by the notes 
made by him in person". He would have been wiser to have omitted this last unintentional 
evidence of his ignorance. It is now abundanily clear that these notes really contain hardly 
a trace of what is peculiarly characteristic of the practice in Java and Madura. To quote 
a single instance; in Batavia marriages are never concluded by the pangulus as such, 
recourse being had to a contrivance called tahk'im in the books of the law, but all mention 
of which is lacking both in this essay and in Van den Berg's '^Beginselen'". The information 
given by the writer of this essay now for the first time in regard to tlie very characteristic 
institution of the taUiij (p. 485 ; the very name of this inslilution does not appear in the 
third edition of the "-Beginselen") comprises nothing more than what we find in the printed 
books on this subject, and is thus very incomplete and often absolutely incorrect. The part 
played by a pangulu at a marriage in Java and Madura (p. 458 et seq.) is ignored by 


iic has not during his long residence in these regions given even a 
passing notice to many of the most characteristic of these phenomena. 

We thus preface our remarlvs on the actual Achehnese marriage 
contract, not by' a complete description of the Mohammedan contract, 
but by so much thereof as is absolutely necessary to show what portions 
of the Achehnese contract are peculiar to that country, and to rectify 
by the light of authoritative Mohammedan works the errors disseminated 
by Van den Berg. 

The marriage contract is, according to the Shafi'ite law-books, an 
agreement in which the man and his wife appear as the parties, the 
latter being represented by her wali. The subject of the contract is 
sexual intercourse and all that is connected with it; in return for this 
advantage, which is assured to the man by the contract, he binds 
himself to pay a dowry, which may be either then and there fixed by 
the contract, or else settled later on according to the wife's position 
and the local custom. He also undertakes to supply his wife with 
suitable food, clothing, lodging and attendance, or if he should wed 
other wives, not to devote more of his time to them than to her, ex- 
cept with her consent, etc. 

At the making of the contract there must be present two witnesses 
who fulfil the required standards of capacity, religion and morality. 
The "acceptance" of the bridegroom must follow directly on the "ofler" 
of the wall , and a settled form of words must be employed for both 
„offer" and .acceptance". Neglect of any of these rules renders the 
contract null and void. 

Van den Berg. In short, this essay shows that Van den Berg has never studied on the 
spot the subjects he treats of, and that the printed works containing comments thereon by 
sundry lay writers were never even opened by him until after his return to Europe. 

The woman is not the subject of the contract into which her guardian enters on her 
behalf, as Van den Berg states in his Afwijkingcn\ certain Shafi'ite teachers allege that the 
subject is the woman, others the man and wife, but they always add, that it is not their 
persons^ but the enjoyment of connubial bliss that is intended to be signified. That the 
woman is a party to the contract appears most clearly from the fact that she herself may 
prefer before the judge independently and without the intermediary of a wall, any claims 
arising from the marriage, such as the claim to maintenance, to suitable lodging or even to 
divorce. The duty of the wali is to maintain the honour of the family, and to take care 
that the woman does not contract an undesirable marriage (_a.«~.aJ' ry^ >'"*' 7^'^ ' 
as the law-books have it), and thus the contract is concluded through his intermediary. 
After completing this task he has nothing more to say to the marriage and to the woman 
who contracts it, till such time as she desires to marry again. 


•No conditions of any sort must appear in the contract. Should this 
rule be transgressed, the whole would be invalid, if the conditions 
contained anything at variance with the essence of Mohammedan mar- 
riage, but the contract would hold good, the conditions ') alone being 
invalid, if the latter did not conflict with essence of the wedded state. 
Some walls, viz. those in the ascending line, have the right to give 
a girl in marriage without her consent, if she be a maiden. The law 
recommends, however, that her consent be asked, and the compulsory 
right ceases on her declaring that she has lost her virginity, it matters 
not how. 

The right of compulsion is only given to these walls because it is 
thought that they are better able to promote her actual interests, and 
because her maiden shyness has yet to be overcome. 

Where the girl is no longer a maiden her consent is essential ; indeed 
the mature unmaried woman has the right to demand to be married, 
provided that a suitor presents himself whom the law would allow of 
her marrying. 

We thus see how foreign to the dictum of the law is the idea that 
the woman is the subject of the contract. Males under age can also 
be married by their walls with their own consent, when the latter see 
it to be for their good. 

The following are proper walls of a woman according to the Shafi'ite The Wali. 

i". The nearest male relative in the ascending line (the father, or if 
he be deceased the father's father, etc.). 

2". Brothers, first those who are the children of the same parents as 
the women, then step-brothers on the father's side. 

3". Male descendants in the male line of those included under 2" 
above, it being understood that a nearer degree excludes a more distant 
one, and that in each degree a descendant of a full brother of the 
woman takes precedence of those of her step-brother on the father's side. 

4". The brothers of the father, subject to the same rule as 2". 

i) In the books of Mohammedan law certain "conditions" are cited as permissible, but 
these are in fact closer definitions of the subject of the contract, as for instance that the 
bride should be a virgin. In such cases separation {fask/i) is allowable if the contrary prove 
to be true. What we might call conditions in the real sense of the word are not admissible 
under the law of Islam; the Law is supposed to regulate all the results of marriage for 
all alike, and if one of the parties wishes to surrender any of his or her rights, he or she 
can do so in practice, but cannot forego them in the contract. 


5". The male descendants in male lino of those included in 4"., 
following the same rule as 3". 

This list of collateral relatives on the father's side may be continued 
by the reader at his pleasure from the rules just given. Only where 
the bride has no agnates who fulfil the requirements of the law '), 
another class presents itself, which we need only cursorily mention 
since it now no longer exists owing to the abolition of slavery, viz. 

6". The male patron (liberator) of the woman, and in case of his 
decease his agnates in the order in which fhey inherit. 

In each special case the wali indicated by the law is he who stands 
closest to the woman in accordance with the above classification. A 
more nearly related class is replaced by one more distant only where 
the former does not exist or where its members are morally and phy- 
sically incapable of discharging the functions of zvali. Thus for example 
the grandfather takes the place of the father when the latter is dead 
or insane, and the stepbrother on the father's side of the full brother 
when the latter is incorrigibly godless or unbelieving. Where, however, 
a wali of the next class is absent ^) or is unwilling to be a party to 
an unexceptionable marriage desired by a woman of mature age, the 
succeeding class docs not take its place, but that which we shall here 
call the 7th viz. : 

7". The Civil Authority ''). By this we must understand in the first 
place the head of the Mohammedan Community or those who govern 
Moslim countries as his representatives. As a rule, however, the duty 
of acting as wali for women who have none, or whose proper guardians 
are absent or unwilling to act, devolves upon the qadhls or their 
deputies, sometimes on separate officials specially appointed to deal 
with marriage contracts (xs\.Jo^i| OJLc c-'t**) ^)- 

1) The Villi must be of the Moslim faith, of full age, of sound understanding and (at 
least at the moment of making the contract) of an upright life (^m//), as opposed to the 
unsanctified state branded by the Law with the name of /iisiij. 

2) The minimum distance of the wall's dwelling-place from that of the woman which 
renders reference to the judge necessary is about 84 miles .«jrfiji iCiLw^.* . 

3) According to the precept handed down by the Prophet \*Jj ...LLiiA».JD *J J.^ 3 •.<« 
= "To her that hath no wali the civil authority is wali". 

4) The power to give in marriage women who have no wali at their disposal, is in Java 
called kiiuHisa kakiin'^ this name is never applied to the authority of those who conclude 
other marriages, as Van den Berg would have us suppose (p. 459). In Java a distinction 
is drawn between the 7vali itasab or wait bapa {%i<ali by blood-relationship) and the wait 
hakhtt or kiikim. The part played by the panghulu or naib in the celebration of a marriage 


8". When a man and a woman having no wali at her disposal desire Tahkim. 
to wed one another, they may by mutual consent select as wali another 
than the official charged with this duty, provided that other entirely 
fulfils the requirements that the Law makes of the qadhl. 

The function of a wali thus selected is designated by the same name 
as that of an arbitrator in a dispute : hakam. The authorization to 
undertake the duty (given by the man or woman) is known as tahkim. 

Where there is no lawful authority according to Mohammedan ideas, 
or no official lawfully charged with the wali-ship of women who are 
without a wali, the tahkim is the only way of uniting a couple desirous 
of marriage. But in the case of this make-shift wali the requirement 
of suitability for the office of qadhl is no longer insisted on, and 
anyone may be appointed hakam who shows himself moderately fitted 
to perform the duties in the prescribed manner. 

In Batavia all such contracts of marriage are concluded in this way, 
since it is assumed that there cannot be in that town any legally ap- 
pointed official to take the wall's place. The incapacity of pangulus in 
this respect is not based on their appointment by a government of 
infidels (in fact the Mohammedan books of the law recognize the legality 
of the appointment of a qadhl by a dc facto kafir authority) but from 
the nullity of their appointment by written decree; since Islam ac- 
knowledges the appointment of officials as valid only when verbal. 

In other parts of Java this is less strictly insisted on, and the pangulu 
of a division is recognised as endued with the kuiuasa kakim. 

Thus a wali may be either an agnate of the bride, or the represen- 
tative of the civil authority, or one appointed to discharge the duties 
of tahkim by the man and woman themselves. The second party to 
the contract is the bridegroom, or if he be a minor, his guardian. 

Every wali, however, and every bridegroom and guardian may -jhe wali 
empower another to conclude the contract is his stead, as wakll. This "^'J'*'')' •>?■ 

'■ pointsanolher 

only occasionally happens in the case of the bridegroom; the wali on to act for him. 
the other hand is almost invariably represented by a zcakll, even though 
he be actually present at the making of the contract. The reason of 
this is not far to seek. 

To conclude a valid contract of marriage, those concerned must have 

with wati nasah is not regarded in any part of the Archipelago as a special, not to speak 
of its being an indispensable, ministration; it is generally understood that he simply takes 
over as an expert substitute the task of the wali. 


a thorougli knowledge of the rules which control such contracts. 
Otherwise, should questions arise later on, there would be some danger 
of being unable to prove the existence of the marriage, or of the 
contract which preceded it being found to be invalid. 

This difficulty is least in the case of the bridegroom ; he has only 
to express in a few words his "acceptance" of the "offer" made by the 
wall, and these words may be and generally are, dictated to him at 
the moment when he has to utter them. Yet it happens not unfre- 
quently — as the writer knows by actual experience — that this ceremony 
has to be repeated all over again as often as three or four times, 
owing to the bridegroom's not following the words quickly enough or 
from his repeating them inaccurately. 

If the wali, however, were left to take his chance, a contract would 
seldom be correctly made. He is strongly recommended, though not 
imperatively commanded by the Law, to begin the ceremony with a 
short discourse on marriage, preferably in Arabic. After this he must 
express his intentions at some length, adhering strictly to the established 
legal forms of expression. One would not be beyond the mark in as- 
serting that in Arabia as well as other Mohammedan countries, hardly 
one wali in a thousand could be found, who would be able to discharge 
this duty without extraneous help. 
MohammcJan We find, then, in all Mohammedan countries, certain persons who 

oilicial mar- j^j^j their help on such occasions and suppK' the deficiencies in the 
nage makers. '^ t-r j 

(necessarily scanty) legal knowledge of the general public. As the 
validity of the contract they enter into can only be disputed before 
the qadhi, it follows as a matter of course that these registrars, if we 
may so call them, stand under the supervision of the qadhI; in some 
countries he actually appoints, in others only recognizes them. The 
names they bear vary with the locality; in Mekka they are called 
niumlik '), in Medina "licentiates for the making of marriages" ^), in 
Egypt fiqlli, in Java naib or district pangulus ') or their subordinates 
{ketip etc.) and in Acheh tcungku mciinasali. 

These officials discharge their duties in one of two ways. They 

1) In regard to these mumliks and the "absolute" identity of their functions with those 
of the district pangulus in Java, see my^ Mekka, Vol. II p. i6o et seq. 

2) K^VXJ'^I lXac gh ,j>toLsj' Q»JLo. After undergoing an examination they receive a 
license from the qadhi. 

3) It is these and not the pangulus of the larger "divisions" who conclude ordinary 


either dictate to the wali and the bridegroom what they have to say 
or else have themselves empowered by the wali and enter into the 
marriage contract as his wakil. This last method, which is adopted 
throughout the whole of the E. Indian Archipelago, is also the one 
most generally resorted to in other Mohammedan countries, as for 
example in Arabia. This is indeed what we should naturally expect, 
for under the first-named system there is much greater risk of the 
whole affair being upset by the inadvertence of one or other of the 
parties. Under the more usual method, on the other hand, the authori- 
zation of the official deputy by the wali (a proper formula for which 
the latter dictates, to make it easy for the former) ') is given before the 
marriage contract is concluded, so that this official wakil has to devote 
his attention to the bridegroom only. On the latter he impresses 
beforehand his comparatively simple duties. "So soon" (thus runs his 
lesson), "so soon as ever I have given utterance to the offer I shall pull your 
thumb" (which the official holds fast during the ceremony for this purpose) 
and then you must immediately repeat the words which I dictate". 

Such is also the practice in Java; the formulas used on such occasions 
vary locally in sundry particulars, but are everywhere the same in 
essentials. Mr. van den Berg, who clearly made his first acquaintance 
with these matters quite recently -) from Winter's brochure and the 
dictionaries of de Wilde and Coolsma, draws therefrom the entirely 

marriages in Java, even in the chiefs towns of tlie divisions which are of course at the 
same time the capitals of their own districts ("distrik kota"). Very often the official mariage- 
maker is a minor mosque-ofticer, for suitable persons are found among the personnel of the 
mosques, and the naib has often other work to do. It is only the marriages of women who 
have no wali which are always concluded by the pangulu or some one appointed by him, 
who exercises the kuwasa kaki>H\ but occasionally where the bride is of very good family, 
an ordinary marriage is concluded by the pangulu in person. 

i) In making this authorization, however, the wali is not restricted to any particular formula; 
he may make it by simply replying in the afiirmative to a question of the registrar. 

2) This is quite manifest from the third edition of his Bcginsehn which came out in 1S83. 
He there states (p. 145) that the bridegroom and the wali may empower another to re- 
present them, but fails to note that this is almost invariably done in the wall's case. Again 
on p. 149 we find a further error: "/« Netherlands-India and probably (sic) //; other Mo- 
hammedan countries as well^ this takes place in presence of a '^priest''\ who receives for his 
pains some small recompense^ and who recites a passage from the Koran or a prayer^'. In 
his latest essay Van den Berg revokes this absurdity, it is but he substitutes a new one in 
its place when he says: "//u {the "priest" in yava) does not invoke a blessing on the mar- 
riage, bill he Joins the couple in marriage, just as the /Registrar does with us". This is not 
so; in Java as in other Mohammedan countries the official as wakil or agent offers the 
woman to the bridegroom, in the name of the wall who has empowered him. 


unwarrantable conclusion that the presence of the so-called "priests" 
or other officials at Mohammedan marriages has in other countries 'an 
absolutely (sic) different significance from what it has in Java and 
Madura" '). This results from his having failed to grasp the meaning 
of .the wali's authorization. The persons who have entrusted to them 
the task or special commission to conclude marriage contracts in their 
division or district have naturally no liking for competition, being human 
enough to feel a strong inclination to monopolize the profits arising 
from the making of marriage contracts. This finds support in the wish 
of the autliorities to protect the law governing domestic life from 
becoming a prey to confusion. If everyone who, rightly or wrongly, 
had the reputation of being a suitable person to manage the preliminaries 
of marriages, was allowed to act in such matters, there would be much 
more confusion in the Mohammedan lawsuits arising from the relations 
between married people than is now actually the case. Thus we find 
every precaution taken to avoid such a state of things -). 

In Java the district pangulus have an easy task in this respect. First 
of all they have hardly any to compete with them in the inland 
districts, and in the next place the official makers of marriages have 
the support of the chiefs, who would regard it as an act of usurpation 
on the parts of a kyahi or doctor of Mohammedan law to conclude a 
marriage contract. At places on the coast and especially at Batavia 
the conclusion of contracts by "amateurs" in this line is of very com- 
mon occurrence, and no one thinks of questioning their legality '). If 
we ask why this so seldom takes place inland we receive the unanimous 
reply that no one dares to assume the responsibility for fear of being 

1) See p. 459 of his essay above quoted on the '^Afwijkhigcn". Even Ihe uninitiated 
can see that the function of this agent of the wali is entirely distinct from llie exercise of 
the kuwasa kakiin^ which Van den Berg has identified therewith. 

2) See my Mekka^ Vol. II p. 161. 

3) Here again Van den Berg has gone quite astray. " Utilcss"^ he says "//<• (///(■ '^ I'llesf 
or official maniage-makcr') declares the marriage to have been conehi(/ei/^ the parties arc not 
man and tuife^ even though the formalities by which their willingness to wed is declared 
are complete in every other respect". Such marriages have in fact been often declared valid 
by the Mohammedan courts in Java, in which those who are interested in a seperation 
are allowed to sit. [Recent legislation in Java has now (by ordinances passed in in 1895 
and 1898) confirmed and protected that adat by which marriage contracts are concluded by 
permanent district pangulus. Those who aid in the making of a Mohammedan marriage 
without proper authority, are punished, but the marriage itself is not declared unlawful, as 
this would conflict with the religious laws and customs of the natives]. 


suspected of an attempt to rob the pangulus of their privileges. There 
would however be no lawful means of frustrating such "amateurs", 
unless the Government declared the district pangulus to be exclusively 
empowered to act as attornies of the walls. 

In all Mohammedan lands, however, in the inland parts of Java just 
as much as in Arabia, we find exceptions to the rule of invoking the 
services of apppointed or licensed makers of marriages. For instance 
where a recognized expounder of the law gives in marriage a woman 
whose wall he himself is, or where he is empowered by a friend of 
his own to act as wall, no one thinks of raising any objection. Nor 
again would any Mohammedan Court ever protest against the validity 
of a marriage on the ground that no "minister of religion" was present 

What is true of the office of wal; applies also to that of witness. A The 
marriage is not valid unless it has been concluded in the presence of 
two witnesses who in the opinion of the judges on whose verdict the 
disputed validity depends, satisfy the requisite standards as to suitability 
and morality. There can thus be no better means of guarding against 
danger in this respect, than by selecting witnesses who have been for 
good and all declared to be suitable by the judge or his representative. 

In point of fact we find in many Mohammedan countries, as an 
appendage to every qadhl's court, a number of professional witnesses 
called 'adl '), who lend their assistance for a moderate fee in marriage 
and other contracts. This also holds true, mutatis tniitandis, of the 
Indian Archipelago. Here the district pangulu, or whatever other name 
the maker of the marriage contract may be known by, causes one or 
two of the officers of the mosque to attend marriages, and these obtain 
for their services a share of their chiefs fees. 

The above refutation of errors which, clumsy as they are, have 
persisted owing to the appearance of authority with which they were 
enunciated, puts us in a position to begin our description of the 
Achehnese marriage contract. 

It is usually concluded in the chapel which also serves as the meeting- The marriage 
house and caravanserai of the gampong, the vieutiasah, one or two days ^°cheh*^ 
before the euntat mainpleu'e or wedding which has been described above. 

l) The Arabic 0-^c = "just", since they are declared by the qadhi to be men of 
upright life and conversation. 



Where it docs not take place beforehand and the ceremony is made 
part of the wedding itself, the contract is concluded in the front verandah 
[srainbe rcunyeiin) before the bridegroom is invited into the jiirce. 
The teungku When the ivali by relationship is available, and is both able and 
and "wakiV' billing to lend his help, the teungku of the meunasah ') manages the 
affair in exactly the same way as is done by the district pangulu in Java. 
This is likewise the case when the woman has been married before and 
has no wall at her disposal. Of such a woman it is popularly said : "she 
has the right to be her own wali"^); and though this saying is not 
legally exact, it expresses clearly enough for all intents and purposes 
the fact that she has the right to join with her intended husband in 
appointing a hakam. The latter should in this case properly possess 
the qualifications required of a qadhi, for there are regularly appointed 
qadhis in Acheh •^). As however the qualifications for the oiifice of 
qadhI are not very narrowly scrutinized in Acheh, it follows as a 
matter of course that much latitude is allowed to the woman's subsi- 
diary wali appointed by tahkim. While however, the theory of religious 
law leaves the choice of this hakam entirely free, the Achehnese adat 
limits it strictly to the feungkn. Amateur marriage-makers such as are 
commonly found at Batavia woukl be heavily fined by the uleebalang 
in Acheh. 

Where a virgin has no wali by relationship at her disposal, she must 
not be married by the teungku, but must, as we shall see directly, go 
to the kali. Let us however first give a closer description of the two 
sorts of contracts which are concluded by the teungku. 
The forma- Before the bridegroom enters the meunasah, the wali of the maiden 
or woman who is to be given in marriage appoints the teungku his 
attorney in some such words as these: "I appoint you, oh Teungku, 
to be my wakll, to give my daughter (or sister etc.) in marriage to 
the bridegroom, who will (immediately) come hither" ''). The answer is 
"incha alah", i.e. 'If it so please God!" 


1) I. e. of the bride's gampung. Tlic teungku meunasah of the bridegroom's gampong 
and his keuchi' share indeed in the introductory negociations and the procession to the 
gampong of the bride, should such take place, but bear no pai't in the concluding of the 

2) Ka jeit'tt jidong ivali kctt d roe jilt. 

3) See p. 332 above. 

4) Wahilah ulon tuan la' Ttuiigku ncupcuuiUah otieii' (siidara) uldn tuan si N. ngon 
linlo teuka. The teungku as a rule dictates this formula to the wali word for word. If the 


When the bridegroom enters the meunasah with a small following 
from his own gampong, his companions open a bundle which they 
have brought with them, and in which are rolled up two handsome 
sleeping mats and a number of costly cushions. These represent the 
future bridal couch, and are spread for the bridegroom to sit on during 
the making of the contract. Close by is placed a bowl {innndain) of 
water, wherewith the teungku and the bridegroom rinse their mouths 
before commencing the ceremony. As the name of Allah is to be 
invoked, it is not fitting that any remnants of food, tobacco or such 
should defile the instrument to be used in glorifying God. 

The attendants of the bridegroom also place in the foreground a The maniage 
platter {bate) containing the sum of money given as a wedding-present 
(jiuamee). The jinamee ') is seldom mentioned in the contract, since it 
is in every case pretty closely defined by the adat. The jinamee for 
the daughters of princes of the blood [tuankus] amounts to 500 dollars, 
or according to the old-fashioned mode of expression, "a kati (I'/^lb.) 
of gold" (sikatbe meuili); for those of persons of distinction [ureumg 
iilee) such as uleebalangs, imeums and others who are their equals in 
rank or wealth, lOO dollars or 4 bungkays -) of gold; for those of 
middle rank [ureu'eng peuteungalian), such as keuchi's, teungkus, wakis 
and the like, 50 dollars or 2 bungkays of gold, and for the lesser folk 
25 dollars or i bungkay. He who marries a poor woman need only 
give one or two talies (tahils) or even less. 

The jinainees here spoken of have reference only to marriage with 
a maiden ; in other cases they depend mainly on mutual consent. 

As a rule the dowry is paid at the conclusion of the contract '). In 

wall happens to be one of the immediate next of kin of the bride, as for instance her 
father or brother, the adat forbids him to be present at tlie concluding of the contract 
(see p. 302), and thus the authorization is given beforehand in some other place. Indeed 
this often happens even where the relationship is much more distant. 

i) This word sheds a remarkable light on the history of the Achehnese marriage. Derived 
as it is from jamie = guest, it can only be construed to mean, in its original sense, the 
gift or recompense given by a guest to him who extends his hospitality towards him. In 
spite of the great change unquestionably wrought by Islam in the Achehnese conception 
of marriage, there still remains, as we have seen, much that is based upon the idea of the 
husband as a guest in the house of his wife (pr2imoh\ see p. 327 above). 

2) A bungkay of gold is reckoned at 25 dollars for the purpose of marriage contracts, 
but at 20 only in gambling and in the pepper trade, h tahi = J, th of a bungkay, so that 
in marriage contracts it is equivalent to 5 dollars. 

3) This is entirely different from the custom in Java, in many parts of which it is usual 
to regard the dowry as a debt, which remains unpaid until separation or the death of one 


some cases half the sum is at once repaid to the bridegroom, but this 
is merely formal, as the bride receives this half again in the form of a 
present when she pays her first visit to her parents in law after the 
wedding '}. 

In addition to the bridal couch and the dowry, the attendants of the 
bridegroom bring with them two sets of "standing sirih" {ranub dong) 
of the same kind as those already described '). In some districts (as 
for instance the Miikims Bu'cng) this is replaced by a sweetmeat in the 
form of network, called halua pulot. Both of these are intended for 
distribution among the onlookers. 

Two leubes ') from the bride's gampong, chosen by the teungku, 
serve as witnesses. They begin by carefully verifying the amount of 
the dowry on the bate or platter. 

The bridegroom now takes his place opposite the teungku, behind 
whom sit the two witnesses and the crowd of onlookers. After they 
have duly rinsed their mouths, the teungku pronounces in Arabic his 
kliutbah (Ach. koteubali). This, though not actually prescribed as indis- 
pensable, is strongly recommended by the Law to the wali or his 
substitute *). As a rule he greatly abbreviates this task, using only the 
words: "In the name of Allah! unto Allah be the praise, and blessing 
and peace upon the Messenger of Allah. I exhort ye, oh servants of 
Allah, and myself to the fear of Allah ! ■'). 

The teungku now clasps the right hand of the bridegroom in his 
own and says "When I shake (your hand) you must immediately make 
answer'')! Thereupon he makes the "offer" in some such words as 
these ''): "I unite you in marriage with N., daughter (or sister etc.) of 

of the pair. In most parts of the province of Preanger it is considered to be painali, or 
forbidden by the adat for the woman to receive any portion of the dowry even in case 
of a divorce. 

1) Ja' gampong linto\ see below. 

2) P. 300. It is also called "marriage sirih" {ranuh rtika/i). 

3) Persons who understand and observe to some extent the precepts of religion. These 
are called santris in Java. It is noticeable that witnesses are selected in Acheh in the 
same way as in Java and other parts of the Archipelago. (See p. 337 above). 

4) See p. 71 above. 

5) Learned teungkus (who are indeed few and far between) know by heart a longer 
holeubah^ which treats of marriage as an institution ordained of heaven. 

6) '■'oh ka lon-yo taseiiot li. 

7) The Achehnese is : Idn-peunikah gata ngon Si N., aneu' {s'ddara) Si A'., nyang ka 
jiwakilah uba' ulon {ngon jinamie . . . bungkay). — Lon-trimong nikahji {ngonjinamieji... 

bungkay). The portions in parentheses are often omitted. 


X, who has empowered me to do so (under bargain of a dowry of so 
many buugkay)." He now pulls the bridegroom's hand as a signal and 
the latter then immediately repeats after him the following words 
"I accept her hand (against a dowry of so many bungkay)." 

The teungku then recites the fatihah (the first surah of the Quran) 
during which all hold their hands before their faces as is customary 
during prayer. After this comes a general offering up of praise to God, 
and finally the teungku repeats another prayer generally used in 
marriages, beginning with the words ^Oh Allah! make union between 
these two, even as thou didst unite the water and the earth" etc. All 
present express by their "amens" their sympathy in this prayer for 
blessing, and then the bridegroom thanks them all by a seumdah or 
respectful obeisance. 

The order of proceedings is almost exactly similar when the teungku Talikim. 
appears not as the substitute of a wall, but as deputed by tahklm by 
a woman who has no wall ') and her intended husband. Here the 
authorization of the teungku by the wali is replaced by the woman's 
tahklm; and in the "offer" he adds after the bride's name the words 
"who has empowered me" or "who has entrusted herself to my charge 
by tahklm," ^) no mention being made of her wali. 

The expedient of the tahklm is very frequently resorted to in Acheh, 
although almost every uleebalangship has its "kali" [qadliT), and in 
other Mohammedan countries where such is the case, recourse is had 
to the qadhi or the minor official invested by him with the wali-ship 
of women who have no wali. The reason is not far to seek. The 
uleebalangships are not indeed very large, but the bad state of the 
roads and the general insecurity prevailing in Acheh would render it 
very burdensome to the people to be obliged to go to the residence 
of the kali for the celebration of every one of the numerous marriages 
of this description. In Java the facilities are greater, and the pangulu 
of a division receives all women who are without a wali at the chief 
centre of the province. 

The adat in Acheh is much stricter than in Java in regard to the 

1) It must be remembered that the wall's absence is legally accepted whenever he who 
is entitled from his relationship to the bride to fulfil this function resides at some little 
distance from the bride's home, or is unwilling to lend his assistance. Cases of this kind 
(in which takh'im is resorted to) are of very common occurrence. 

2) Nyang ka jiwakilah drheji ba' iilon or nyang ka jipcutahkim dro'eji ba^ ulon. 


part to be played in the concluding of marriage contracts by the 
authorities of the gampong, and by the kalis in marriages of the kind 
which we shall presently proceed to describe. A marriage would not 
indeed be pronounced invalid in Achch any more than in Java, on 
the ground that it was concluded without the cooperation of the heads 
of the gampong (in Java of the district pangulu). But while in the 
latter country the maker of the marriage would escape with a mere 
censure '), all concerned would be heavily fined in Acheh. The keuchi 
and teiingku are zealous in maintaining their authority and the profits 
which they derive from its exercise. In this they are supported both 
by their overlords the uleebalangs, and by the people of the gampongs, 
whose rights and claims they maintain against invasion. 

The part played by the keuchi' in the preparations for the marriage 
is, as we have already seen, of great importance ; his authority is also 
required for the concluding of the contract. In this the teungku, the 
"mother" of the gampong, is the active agent, since he alone is 
acquainted with the requisite formalities ^), but he would not venture 
to carry out his task without the presence and authority of "father" 
keuchi'. And although the teungku is the person who actually enters 
into the contract [peiikatib '), peunikah or peiikatvcn) it is to the keuchi' 
alone that the adat allots a fixed sum as recompense. This fee is 
called lid katib, ha" nikali or hd chupeng, speech-maker's money, 
marriage-money or chuphig-money, chupeng being the little metal plate 
which young girls wear to cover their persons. 
The ha'katib. The hd katib amounts to one mas [saiudih] as it is still called, i. e. 
'/^ of a dollar. The teungku is paid so much as the parties concerned 
see fit to give him. He can adduce no right founded on adat, but on 
the other hand he has this advantage, that his fee, though not definitely 
fixed, is made to correspond with the requirements of the occasion. 
He usually receives one dollar, sometimes more ; half of this sum he 
makes over to the leubes who stand by him as witnesses. 

l) [Since the above was vviitten the Government has interfered in this matter, and botli 
in Java and Madura amateur marriage makers are now punished by fine]. 

1) Many teungkus do not possess the requisite knowledge; these call in the assistance 
of some more experienced fellow-villager, who acts only at the teungku's request and in 
his presence. 

2) The action of the registrar is called pcnkatib because its most difficult part is the 
enunciation of the koteubah, which the law requires from the wali. In Arabia the person 
authorized by the wali is said to conclude the contract (iAft«j' LXfi«j). 


Under the Mohammedan law there is no reason why the marriage 
of a maiden of full age who has no wall should not be performed 
through the mediation of the same official who acts for a divorced 
woman or a widow under similar circumstances. In both cases it is 
the custom in most Mohammedan countries to have recourse to the 
qadlfi or the ofhcial charged with like functions, even where the law 
admits of resorting to tahkim under certain conditions. In Acheh the 
tahkini is habitually applied in the latter case, subject to the choice 
of a hakaiii being limited to the teungku of the woman's gampong, so 
that we might naturally expect to find the same method adopted for 
the marriage of a maiden of full age. 

This however seldom happens, the intervention of the kali being The kali as 

1 1 • 1 T-i • • 1 1 11 1 1 ^ concluder of 

deemed necessary m such cases, ihis is undoubtedly due to the fact marriage con- 
that in Acheh the great majority of maidens are given in marriage '™'^'^- 
before they arrive at the age of puberty, and the help of the kali is 
indispensable in view of the peculiar manner in which most of these 
marriage contracts are concluded among the Achehnese. There is thus 
also a tendency to invoke the assistance of the kali in the absence of 
a wall in those rare instances where a girl is married for the first time 
after reaching maturity. 

It must be borne in mind that according to the Shafi'ite law it is 
only the agnates in the ascending line that have the right to give a 
maiden in marriage without her consent. Thus where such ascendant 
relatives are wanting the marriage of a maiden is impossible under the 
Shafi'ite ritual, since the refusal or consent of a minor has no force. 

In Acheh, however, there is a universal and deeply-rooted prejudice 
against allowing a maiden to remain unmarried till she attains her 
majority. This we have already noticed in the beginning of our des- 
cription of the marriage ceremony, but to guard against error we must 
here supplement this by observing that Mohammedan law not only 
places no impediment in the way of contracts of marriage between 
children, but even expressly permits girls under age to be handed over 
to their husbands when, as the saying is, "they can endure the married 
state" '). This last contingency is considered by Mohammedans in all 

i) This expression is to be found in the Tiilifa/i (Vol. VI p. 442 of the marginally 
noted edition of as-Sharwani of Cairo, A. H. 1305): cU.;S\j' J.*Xj^' *!!^ 'i,.fJu3 ^^>m.j 'b5» 

and further on iy^'^ ^j' ^^^ tioLj^ ji.xj J|=»y.j .vUXi^J jj c>-«b U LS>^} -^j 


eountries to arise at a very early age, and in Acheh one sees children 
whom we should deem of an age to be taken on the knee, making 
purchases in the market in the capacity of matrons ! 

Now as many of these girls have, whilst still unmarried, lost their 
fathers and grandfathers who are their proper walls, the Shafi'ite ritual 
conflicts with the Achehnese adat on this point. Means have however 
been found to reconcile this difficulty. 
Ch.inging of It is difficult to give a clear explanation of this expedient without 
once more digressing from our subject. As a matter of fact the Shafi'ite 
school permits its disciples to follow some other ritual in certain isolated 
cases. Such partial following of another school is called taqUd ') i. e., 
clothing with authority. In Java, for instance, taql'id is commonly 
resorted to in order to fix the qiblah (the direction in which the 
devout must turn when praying) since the rules of the Shafi'ite school 
are too strict to be carried out in actual practice. It is also customarily 
employed in the fulfilment of neglected religious duties on behalf of 
deceased persons. We should have looked to find in Van den Berg's 
Beginselen a discussion of this subject to which we might here refer, 
but we seek in vain for even the bare mention of the question. 
Taqlid. We shall only mention here so much of the law as to this sort of 

taqlld as is indispensable to our subject, for a full description would 
detain us too long -) ; we therefore merely quote such opinions of the 
teachers as are followed in actual practice at the present time. 

"And the married state may not be entered into with her who cannot yet endure it; for 
this there is required the testimony of four women." In Java also the "handing over" of a 
girl to a husband before she is of mature age is common enough, for in the opinion of 
the Mohammedan teachers the usual signs of puberty are not necessary to constitute a 
capacity to endure the married state. 

i) This word is also used by the disciples of any given school with reference to that 
school and its founder; for example, the recognition of the imam as-Shafi'i by the Shafi'ites 
is eminently taql'id. But in its technical use the word is more especially applied to the 
adoption in exceptional cases of the ritual of another imam. So it is said in answer to the 
question why such and such a Shafi'ite does a certain thing which is at variance with the 
teaching of his school, such as drinking fermented liquors (other than wine) : "he resorts 
to the taql'id" (that of Abu Hanifah in the case in point). _ 

2) The doctrine of the taqlid is somewhat complicated and the authorities differ consi- 
derably from one another in details. The best exposition of the subject is to be found in 
the above-mentioned edition of the Tuhfah vol. VIII pp. 315 et seq. The question is akin 
to that as to whether the layman (i. e. he who is not endowed with authority as a teacher) 
has a madhab or not; on this latter point also the Shafi'ite authorities are divided. In 
regard to this we must recollect that as measured by theoretical law, all or almost all 

Mohammedans of the present time, even the so-called doctors, are only laymen (|»|j.c). 


The doctrine is, then, that every Mohammedan is authorized in a 
given question to follow a different school to that to which he is 
supposed to belong, provided he do so with full knowledge that 
this other interpretation is supported by an imam of equal authority 
with him whom he himself follows, and that he is acquainted with all 
the rules controlling the question in point in that other school, since, 
were it otherwise, inconsistencies would arise from following partly 
one school and partly another. Some add to this a further condition 
forbidding the selection from every school of what seems easiest and 
most agreeable. 

According to the prevailing opinion, however, each individual may 
make use of this permission on his own behalf only ; for instance, the 
judge and the mufti must confine themselves to their own school in 
their verdicts or interpretations of the law, since these affect not 
themselves but others. It is indeed allowed that the ideal qadhi, as we 
find him portrayed in the books of the law, should be guided entirely 
in his pronouncements by the Quran, by tradition and by what according 
to his (the qddh'i s) view is derived from both these sources by the 
consensus of the infallible community of Islam. It is, however, admitted 
without hesitation that it was only in the first two centuries after 
Mohammad that there were any who came up to this standard, and 
that now-a-days such a phenomenon would be esteemed a miracle. It 
is now admitted as a fact that no teacher, no matter how great he 
be, can do more than simply interpret the law-books of his school. 
Besides this it is matter of common knowledge that the qadhls are 
very seldom chosen from the ranks of the most learned. The existing 
qadhls might at best be described as "make-shifts" ^), qadlii ad-dharurah, 
but the great majority of them do not even come up to the definition 
of this term found in the books of the law. They are in fact quite 
ill-fitted to their task, and are appointed by the authorities for the 
sake of maintaining social order, but are of course not allowed to go 
outside the limits of their own school of doctrine. 

To return to our main subject; where Achehnese girls are under Hanafite 
age and their walls in the ascending line are dead or absent, their n,a„."iaj,e of 
being given in marriage is facilitated by the tenets of the Hanafite maidens, 

l) That is to say, such as only partially fulfil the requirements which the Law makes 
of a qadhi. 


In the first place the order of sequence of the walis in the school 
of Abu Hanifah differs from that of the Shafi'ites. 

In the former the descending line takes precedence of those men- 
tioned in the list given on pp. 331 — 33 above, so that the son if of full 
age has the first right to be wali of his mother '). Otherwise the series 
is the same as we have described it so far as the agnates are concerned, 
but after these come in the first place the mother (who under Shafi'- 
ite law can never be a wali), and then the relations on the mother's 
side in order corresponding to the degree of consanguinity. After these 
comes the patron and finally the civil authority -). Among the Hanafites 
moreover, a woman of full age can never be given in marriage without 
her consent even though she be a virgin ') ; on the other hand all 
walis have the right to give a virgin who is under age in marriage 
without her consent. The only distinction that they make between the 
walis in the ascending line and others consists in this, that when the 
former have exercised the said right of compulsion, the marriage 
contract receives absolutely binding force, whereas in the case of a 
forced marriage being arranged by one of the other walis of the woman, 
the latter, as soon as she is of full age and becomes aware of the 
circumstances, has the right to demand faskh (separation) ■*). The same 
holds good as regards boys under age who have been married by their 
guardians, but in their case the compulsory power even of the walis 
in the ascending line is simply conditional. 

Under the Hanafite law we also find an absent wali replaced by his 
successor in the list, and not directly by the civil authority as is the 
case with the Shafi'ites. 

In Acheh it is the universal custom to apply in these matters, so 
far as appears desirable, the teuketilit, as the Achehnese pronounce 
taqtid. In regard to this it is a somewhat singular fact that not only 
do the kalis of Acheh recognize this adat (though they ought properly 

1) It will be observed that the function of the wali as such consists simply in looking 
after the honour of his family; and this is recognized by the Mohammedan teachers them- 
selves; but actual guardianship of the son over his mother is of course unknown. 

2) As to this see the Shark al-wiqayah (Kasan 1 881) p. 124. 

3) This is permitted among the Shafi'ites, the asking of the woman's consent being only 
recommended. The Hanafites consider even the marriage of a woman of full age without a 
wali permissible and only admit a right of protest when the woman marries beneath her 
and thus brings dishonour on her family. 

4) Shark al-wiqayak pp. 122 — 23. 


speaking to keep entirely clear of adat and follow the Shafi'ite law only 
in the exercise of their office) but it is even obligatory to invoke their 
help in order to conclude a marriage contract which is unlawful under 
the Shafi'ite, though permitted by the Hanafite law. This rule has ap- 
parently been adopted through mistrust of the knowledge of the teungkus, 
and through fear that if the matter were left entirely in their hands, 
many marriage contracts would be entered into which would prove 
completely at variance with the Law. There could of course be no 
suggestion of entrusting such duties to "laymen," which in theory 
would be the proper course. 

It must further be borne in mind that in these numerous cases of 
Hanafite marriages of virgins, no one thinks of expecting from the 
bridegroom and the wali, even with the kali to assist them, a full 
knowledge of all the rules controlling marriage under the Hanafite 
teaching, although the law, as we have seen, makes this a condition 
in regard to the taqlid. It is enough simply to keep up appearances, 
and to follow, however faultily, the outward form. 

The wali and the bridegroom go to the kali with the girl and the 
authorities of her gampong (the keuclii , the tciingku and the two 
leubes who serve as witnesses) in order to bale vicudenliab as it is 
called (i. e. to change the madhab or school of doctrine under his 

The circumstances of the case, viz. that the girl has no walis in the Formalities 

.... 11,- t. • , ofthe''chang- 

ascendmg hne or that they live at too great a distance to act in the j^g of 
matter, but desire to give her in marriage according to custom, are "madhab. 
first communicated to the kali. He replies somewhat as follows: "Ac- 
cording to our imam [as-Sliajii) it is not permissible to give this maid 
in marriage in the absence of her father and grandfather; this can 
only be done according to the teaching of the imam Abu Hanifah" '-). 
Thereupon the wali and bridegroom reply: "We will follow your 
decision, oh Teungku !" '). This is really quite improper, as in case of 
taqlid there should be no mention of following the decision of a third 

The kali now dictates to both wali and bridegroom a formula which 

1) Or the bridegrooms guardian if he be under age. 

2) Ba' imctini geitianyui: lian sah tapctikawcn aneii' nyo'e^ labab hana kiiji^ liana nc' ; 
ineung kon ba' imctim Hanapi. 

3) Ban nyang hukom Teungku. 


is understood to authorize them to have recourse to the taqlld for 
the matter in hand. This runs as follows: "we embrace the authority 
of the Hanafite Imam, this is our belief; I agree with the Hanafitc 
imam in this question, that it is permissible to give in marriage a 
child under age who has neither father nor grandfather ; I am convinced 
of the force of the Hanafite arguments" '). 

After this mock taqlld the kali is empowered by the wali in the 
same way as the teungku in other cases. The marriage ceremony is 
then completed, and as soon as the girl's family -) are of opinion that 
she is fit to share her husband's bed, she is handed over to him or 
rather he is brought to live with her. 

The common people who have recourse to this takciilit in actual 
practice, have no knowledge of the niceties of the question. It is 
enough for them to know that a special method known as hale mcii- 
deuhab, which is stamped with the approval of the ulamas of Acheh, 
and in which the kali is regarded as an indispensable guide, has to be 
adopted in order to marry young girls who have no walls in the 
ascending line and that this guide must receive 4 dollars for his trouble. 
It may even be doubted whether the majority of kalis, whose incomes 
are augmented to no inconsiderable degree by this bale' meudeuhab, 
have any real knowledge of its origin. Indeed some kalis find them- 
selves compelled (like the teungkus) owing to their ignorance to have 
their task performed for them by some helpful friend who is well versed 
in the law. 

As we have seen above, the kali is also resorted to on the less 

common occasions when a virgin of full age whose wali is absent or 

who has no wali, is given in marriage. 

The ta'liq As Acheh forms a part of the East Indian Archipelago, our remarks 

? ^A ^J'"''""°2 on the marriage contract would be incomplete if we failed to notice 

in Acheh. ° '^ 

one negative peculiarity, namely the complete absence in Acheh of 
a very characteristic adat which prevails among the vast majority 
of Moslims in these regions. Here again a slight digression is necessary 
in the absence of any reliable authority on the subject. 

1) Geutanyo'e tatamong ba' imeum Hanapi^ vtcunoe lo'e'likeuel: ulSnleu ikoi imeum Hanapi 
ill' masa'alah /lyoe, mi'e peukawcn aneti' nyang chtil^ nyang hana ku ngon ja ; ulonteti e'- 
tikeu'et kitat dali Hanapi. 

2) The opinion of four women prescribed by the Law, is not insisted on in such cases, 
that of the mother or perhaps the elder sister being accepted as sufficient. 


The relation of wife to husband is finally fixed in all its details by 
the Mohammedan law, and, as we have seen, there must be no condi- 
tions made on either side in the marriage contract, a fortiori none 
that would in any way modify this relation. The position of the wife 
as defined by the fiqh or law of Islam is in many ways a very un- 
favourable one, and this not merely as measured by European standards; 
yet in many Mohammedan countries there prevails in practice an inter- 
pretation of the law much more favourable to the woman. This is 
based on the pre-existing social conditions which Islam found established 
on its first introduction, and which it was unable to exterminate. 

Such are for example the obligations of the husband in regard to Difficulty ex- 
the provision of maintenance, lodging, clothing etc. for his wife. These „omenLob^ 
are indeed closely defined by the Law, but it furnishes no sufficient taming faskh. 
practical means for the enforcement of these rights. In fact, .if the man 
deserts his wife, and fails to provide her with the necessaries of life 
etc., she has no right to demand a divorce ') until she can prove that 
her husband is incapable of providing for her maintenance. In the 
absence of such proof she can only invoke the interference of the civil 
authority to compel her husband to fulfil his obligations, a course 
which, as might be supposed, is in most cases of little avail. Where 
the woman has succeeded, no matter in what way, in providing for 
her own support, and where no money has been paid by the husband 
in response to the judge's order, every claim on her part for compen- 
sation for the deficiency as a rule falls to the ground. 

In the East Indian Archipelago ^), a method to which the Moham- -j-^e ta'iiq in 
medan law itself gives the impulse has been resorted to in order to ^''^ ^-"*' '"' 

dian Archipe- 

prevent the husband from leaving his wife to life-long misery by deser- lago. 
tion and neglect of his duties towards her. 

According to the law a conditional talaq (divorce) may be pronounced 
or as the saying is, the talaq may be "suspended" {tal'iq). The numerous 
ways in which this can be done are most minutely defined in the 
books of the law. The essence of the matter is that if the husband has 

1) It must be borne in mind that for the man on the other hand the mere expression 
of his wish is sufficient to disolve the marriage without any further reason, and that the 
woman who is abandoned by her husband without any severing of the lawful bond of 
marriage occupies a miserable position in Mohammedan society. 

2) The same custom exists in the Straits Settlements, and would in all probability be 
met with in those parts of Hindustan whence Islam was introduced into the E. Indian 


said: "If such and such a thing Iiappen, my wife is divorced," the 
actual thing referred to need only take place, in order to make the 
talaq a determinate fact. 

This tdhq can be used for sundry purposes. Sometimes a Moham- 
medan employs it by way of an oath, saying for example to some one 
who doubts the truth of his words: "If I lie in this, my wife N. is 
divorced." Or he uses it as a threat to his wife in case of disobedience, 
as thus, "if you enter that house again, you are divorced." 

He may, however also employ the ta'llq to improve the position of 
his wife, as for instance by saying, "If I beat you, or leave you for a 
month without support, or forsake you for a year, then you are 
divorced." The husband cannot indeed be constrained to such a tatlq 
and his voluntary declaration is necessary to bestow such privileges on 
his wife. 

At the same time, if a man asks the hand of a woman in marriage, 
and first undertakes, at the request of the father or wali, to make 
such a ta'llq in her favour immediately after the conclusion of the 
wedding contract, the bridegroom considers himself so to speak 
morally bound by such promise. No one, it is true, would raise 
any legal objections if after the contract was completed he were 
to declare that he thought better of his intentions in regard to the 
tallq, but by so doing he would entirely forfeit the confidence of his 

Such predeclared and morally compulsory ta'liqs are to be met with 
everywhere. In the Indian Archipelago they are by no means rare ; 
the husband for instance, in conformity with an agreement with his 
parents-in-law, declares immediately after the marriage ceremony, that 
his wife may regard herself as divorced by him if he marries a second, 
or gives her no house of her own to live in, etc. Here again, as might 
be expected, the great majority of bridegrooms require the assistance 
of the official who concludes the marriage contract for the proper 
expression of the formula; he dictates the words one after another to 
the bridegroom. 

This is not peculiar to Indonesia, and is also to be found in Achcli. 
But throughout the whole of Java ') and the greater part of the other 

i) In Van den Berg's Bcginselat not only do we find no single word about this most 
important adat, but even the possibility of a "conditional talaq" is only barely alluded 


Mohammedan possessions of Holland, the adat has always within 
human memory required every man who marries to pronounce a talxq 
immediately after the conclusion of the contract. The form of this is 
subject to local variations, but its general drift is everywhere the 
same, viz. that the wife may regard herself as divorced if her husband 
forsakes her and betakes himself to some other part of the country 
for seven months, or beyond the sea for a year (in some places two '), 
or if he fails to maintain her for a given period (e. g. one month) ^) 

to (p. 157). In 1888, when I verbally informed Mr. Van den Berg that I had been told 
of the existence of this adat by many Javanese at Mecca, he denied that any such special 
custom existed, and when I maintained my ground and proved to him that it did exist at 
Batavia by referring to an allusion to it in an application for fatwa (verdict of a religious 
judge) composed by Sayyid 'Uthman, the most he would allow was that something of the kind 
might perhaps appear sporadically. In support of his view that it was exceptional, he 
alleged that he had found no mention of any such adat in the registers of the Mohammedan 
courts. Since then, as appears in his essay on the Afwijkingen [Bijdr. Institiiut^ 1892 
pp. 485 seqq.). Van den Berg has gleaned some popular information on the subject and 
finds himself compelled to speak of "the use sometimes made of (the permission) to pro- 
nounce a conditional divorce." Not a trace of 'personal observation', though in the intro- 
duction to his essay he speaks of notes personally made by him (Van den Berg). Had 
he taken trouble to enquire, he would have found that the custom is the established rule 
thioiiglicut t/ie w/io/e of Java^ its omission being sporadic and requiring explanation ; he 
would have known that among the commonest questions arising before the Mohammedan 
courts are those which spring from the ta'llq, the pi'rkara rapa' as they are called; he 
would have furnished us with examples of the very characteristic and instructive Javanese 
and Sundanese ta'lTq formulas, and we should not have to complain of the omission from 
his essay of the most important technical terms connected with this question such as janji 
ni/igiatu^ janji dallm and rafa'. Now he only supplies the small amount of information 
given him by certain popular books, — information which he has acquired 20 years too 
late — draws wrong conclusions therefrom, and gives misleading explanations. 

1) In Batavia it is a year in each case, and the following condition is added to the 
other two: failure to maintain the wife for one month or serious ill-treatment. Even as 
regards Batavia, Van den Berg supplies misleading information. He might have collected 
better data from any Batavian; or else as he chose to form his ideas of the adat in the 
East Indies from printed works which he studied in Holland, he might in place of consulting 
Sayyid 'Uthman's tabular treatise have referred to the fatwa pronounced by the authorities 
at Mekka on the application of that writer, and especially the wording of the application 
itself to which this fatwa conveys the reply, and which is printed under the title jLx««i ^^' 

'i^M^M ..-w-JjJ ToUvu rj-^ o-^ O^^^ (J*}''* '^^' *•''•-'*"' U^j' V|>^ J!*'*"- 
On page 2 in the description of the contents of the ta'liq at Batavia, we find the following words : 

2) So that the woman if she wishes to obtain a separation is not bound to prove her 
husband's incapacity to maintain her. 


or maltreats her ') or excludes her entirely from his bed ^) and other 
similar conditions '). To the series of conditions "on which the talaq is 
suspended" the two following^) are always attached: "if the woman 
is not a consenting party thereto and places the matter in the hands of 
the constituted authorities." The omission of these two conditions would 
lead to the greatest difficulties. The Mohammedan law will not allow 
the word talaq to be made light of; when the talaq has been once 
pronounced or a condition on which it "hangs" fulfilled, the marriage 
is dissolved ipso facto without any judicial decree and all further co- 
habitation of the pair is from tliat moment regarded as adultery. The 
talaq must be proved by two witnesses, if one of the parties concerned 
denies its having been pronounced ; but it has full force with all its 
consequences for both parties as soon as ever it has been uttered by 
the husband. 

Suppose the husband then to have created a ta'liq of the kind we 
refer to and to have done one of the acts therein enumerated, the 
marriage would be then and there dissolved, irrespective of the wishes 
of the woman, who would perhaps be glad enough to leave things as 
they were. Extraordinary complications would arise if the man's act 
were to be decisive and the woman to have no voice in the matter. 
There would be a complete want of control, and amid the prevailing 
ignorance of the great mass of the people, many a married couple 
might form an entirely wrong opinion as to whether a given "condition" 
had been fulfilled or not. The addition of the two final conditions just 
mentioned gets rid of all these difficulties, since they make the com- 
pletion of the divorce dependent on the consent of the woman and a 

1) The nature of the assault is sometimes defined, as for instance striking her so as to 
draw blood, or pulling out her hair, or smashing to pieces her loom, the silent witness of 
many a forbidden intrigue. 

2) Although the marriage can be dissolved by the judge {fask/i) at the instance of the 
woman in case of impotence on the man's part, Van den Berg is wrong in concluding 
that the man is bound to give "marital rights" (see his essay quoted above, p. 482). 
All Mohammedan law-books teach the opposite ; it is only the woman who is bound to 
surrender her person. Divorce owing to impotence only takes place because the object 
to be attained by marriage (that is, according to the law-books, sexual union) is there- 
by rendered impossible, so that there is no longer any reason why the marriage should 

3) In some districts we find conditions Whose object is simply religious, e. g. "If I 
neglect the obligatory prayers or fasts or drink arak or gamble" etc. etc. 

4) Absurd as it may appear, neither of these are mentioned by Van den Berg. 


declaration before the judge '), wlio must of course enquire into the 
case in the first instance. 

The judge before whom the declaration is made gives no verdict 
(for which indeed there is no necessity) but declares the facts viz. 
whether or no the divorce is brought into force by means of the decla- 
ration made in his presence coupled with the fulfilment of the other 
condition as evidenced by the woman's statement. 

As appears from the above explanation, this adat in favour of the Intentional 

, , . .^ , , ..... adoption of 

woman is a most reasonable one smce il the law were applied in its (j,e t^'liq 
purity '•'), the right of demanding separation (faskh) on the grounds 
mentioned would be entirely denied to the woman. Thus where Van 
den Berg, in the essay referred to (pp. 486 — 7) notices as "peculiar" 
the wide' use made of the ta'llq, and characterizes it as "a somewhat 
useless expedient for dissolving marriages", we are constrained to 
qualify as most peculiar the writer's want of familiarity both with the 
essential nature of this native adat and with the rules of Mohammedan 
law as to tallq and faskh. This adat is universally esteemed by native 
teachers and laymen as a social blessing, in view of the thoughtlessness 
with which marriages are entered into, the indifference of many hus- 
bands to their wives and their proneness to abandon them, as well as 


1) This declaration is called lapa' (,<-J0, a word which in .\rabic may be used to signify 
all kinds of declarations, hut is used in Javanese and Sundanese as the technical term for 
the declaration of a woman that a ta^liq condition has been fulfilled and that she wishes the 
m.arriage dissolved. The ta'liq-formula usually runs as follows: samaiigsa-mangsane tula 
(here follow the conditions^ ora tiimaiii rabi kiila^ rapa' mating kakini^ ma/igka runtuh 
talaq kula siji maring rabi kula N. 

2) There are indeed Mohammedan courts which give faskh on simple proof that the 
husband has failed in his obligations, but such verdicts are based simply on the ignorance 
of the judges, and not on any rights conferred by adat, far less on Moslim law. Some 
courts also wrongly apply the n.ame pasah to proof of the talaq which has arisen through 
taTiq^ but we must not draw from this use of the term any negative conclusions in i-egard 
to the adat of the ta'llq. In certain parts of Jogjakarta (where laU'iq is universal axii. faskh 
in its proper sense very rare) the word pasah is used to designate the otificial who is else- 
where called naib or district pangulu. 

3) The fact that "the majority (of the Javanese) even of the lower classes, do not enter 
into matrimony with a settled intention of being guilty of wilful desertion of their wives" 
(Van den Berg, Afivijkingen^ p. 487) is but a poor consolation to the woman whose hus- 
band is compelled to migrate as a labourer for hire or cultivator into districts where 
possession in common prevails, but does not possess the means or the inclination to take 
his wife along with him. It is sought to arm the woman, not against a base intent conceived 
beforehand, but against unfortunate eventualities which as experience shows very frequently 
occur. Even Arabic teachers, who are otherwise alw.ays inclined to frown on native customs, 
exhibit a great regard for the "conditional separation" and do their best to maintain it. 



Meantime such a tdliq whether made witli or without previous parley 
between the bridegroom and his parents-in-law, must under Mohammedan 
law always be a voluntary act on the part of the former, as otherwise 
it would be invalid. Yet it must be understood that in the large field 
where the adat prevails of conditional divorce after every marriage, 
the chance concurrence of the wishes of all married couples cannot be 
regarded as the cause of this custom. As a matter of fact, where this 
adat holds good, it is usually compulsion or "persuasion" bordering on 
compulsion that carries the day. 

In olden times in Java, not only in the kingdom of Mataram, but 
also in such places as Chirbon and Banten, the tal'iq was ordained by 
the rulers of the country. The tradition of the Javanese that this adat, 
which extends so far beyond the limits of Java, was an invention of 
their great sultan (Sultan Ageng) is of course to say the least of it 
open to doubt. Still this ta'lTq was everywhere known as "the promise 
ordained of the Prince" [janjinin^ ratii o\ janji daleiii) and is still so 
called even outside the Native States. It is indeed customary for the 
ofticial who concludes the marriage contract to enquire of the bridegroom 
"do you accept the janjining ratuF', but this question is purely formal, 
since a reply in the negative is unheard of. 

In addition to this main departure from Mohammedan law, another 
unorthodox custom (which seems formerly to have been universal) still 
prevails in many districts, viz. that the words of the tal'iq are only 
uttered by the official marriage-maker, who of course speaks in the 
second person '), and the bridegroom instead of repeating the words 
in the first person simply answers "yes". According to the law this 
defect in form renders the whole transaction void, yet the adat regards 
it as valid. 

In the provinces directly subject to the Dutch government there is 
of course in theory no such thing as compulsion in regard to the 
ta'liq. Both this freedom and the increasing study of the Mohammedan 
law cause the proper legal form for this voluntary declaration to be 
more largely employed in these provinces ; but as a matter of fact the 
formula is dictated to the bridegroom in such a way that he is left 
to suppose in his ignorance that it forms an indispensable part of the 

l) He ought properly speaking to dictate the words to the bridegroom in the first person. 
This has of late become customary in most localities owing to the increasing influence of 
Mekka in such matters. 


marriage contract. The ordinary villager, or indeed any native who 
has not studied, knows naught of the rules of the Law in regard to 
the contract. He places himself entirely in the hands of the official 
who concludes it ; when for example, the latter, after the ratification 
of the contract proper, says to him: "You will now surely repeat the 
ta'llq according to the good adat which all men follow", few bridegrooms 
would so much as conceive the possibility of refusing this request. 

Some, part pedantic, part overscrupulous pangulus have of late 
abandoned this admirable adat, but in every place where I ascertained 
the non-existence of the custom (and I have always made a special 
task of investigating such cases) I have met persons who could still 
remember when the janjining ratu or taVe was universally practised. 

In the Residency of Batavia and also in Malay countries, where sub- 
mission to the princes and their representatives is much less slavish 
than in Java, the free voluntary declaration is always observed in form, 
but the advice of the official marriage-maker combined with the layman's 
ignorance of the law gives rise to a kind of restraining force that serves 
to maintain the adat. 

We now see clearly that this ta'lfq-adat, so far from being exceptional, 
is deeply rooted in the necessity for rendering the position of the married 
woman more favourable than it is under the Mohammedan law, while 
yet avoiding as far as possible all conflict with that law. However 
open to dispute may be our conjecture that this adat was introduced 
by the pioneers of Islam in the East Indies, we may rest assured that 
the almost universal acceptance of the custom was due in each instance 
to the fact that it harmonized with the requirements of the people. 

I say almost universal acceptance, and in doing so I intend not 
only to draw attention to the exceptions which are everywhere made 
in favour of persons of rank or teachers of the law, in whose case 
malevolent desertion or ill-treatment of a wife is not supposed possible, 
but also to put in strong relief the fact that the adat is entirely lacking 
in some good Mohammedan countries of the Archipelago. 

The most unequivocal confirmation of our explanation of the acceptance Re.isons for 
of this adat is to be found in the fact that it supplies a satisfactory ^f*^ ih^ ta^Uq! 
reason for the absence of the tatlq from among the essential adjuncts custom in 

Acheh and 

of marriages in some countries. This will be at once recognized, on ceitaia other 
the mere mention of their names by every one who has any knowledge ^ ^'^^^' 
of the social system of the two principal countries which arc without 


the ta'lTq-adat; Achch and tlic Menangkabau territories'). In both of 
these the woman is, so far as lodging and maintenance are concerned, 
practically independent of her husband, since she continues to form an 
integral part of the family wherein she was born. An Achehnese 
woman whose husband has gone as a pepper-planter to the East or 
West Coast and gives no sign of his existence for years, may indeed 
feel unhappy; but as she lives in her own house either together with 
or in the immediate neighbourhood of her own family, she is seldom 
constrained to demand a dissolution of marriage hy faskh. In the same 
way there exists no necessity for facilitating by conditional divorce, 
such dissolution of wedlock which as we have seen is most difficult to 
obtain by faskh. 

§ 3. Early days of married life. Polygamy and Concubinage. 
Financial relations of Husband and Wife. 

We may now proceed to mention certain adats which are observed 
during the period immediately following the completion of the marriage. 
We shall at the same time find an opportunity for discussing the results 
of marriage as regards the property of husband and wife. 
Tueng men- After the wedding, some months, indeed sometimes as much as a year 
or so, will pass before the family of the bridegroom takes any further 
notice of the bride. The latter does not make her first visit to her 
parents-in-law, until her husband's mother comes to "fetch her away" 
itu'cng mcHiiarn) ^). 

The elder woman brings with her a number of female companions 
from her own gampong and a money present for the young wife. The 
guests are entertained at the bride's house at a formal feast with 
idangs ^). 

This visit however is not sufficient according to the adat to consti- 
tute an invitation. Some time later the request must be repeated by 
a woman sent by the husband's mother. The messenger thus addresses 
the mother of the bride: "The reason why I have directed my 

1) Here the ta'liq has begun to be einployed in some places on the coast. 

2) The word tueng means to "fetch away," and mcttnaro is formed from mavd = bayo 
{dara bard means "the bride"); ef. iiieuneiiri (present) = bcuncuii from I'v/, "to give." 

3) See pp. 320, 324 above. 


footsteps hither to you is in order that I may fetch away tliis Si Nya' '). 
The invitation is pohtely accepted, but a considerable time is allowed 
to elapse before it is acted upon. 

Finally, after due notice of the visit has been given the bride repairs 
to the gampong of her husband '-) accompanied by a crowd of female 
relatives and fellow-villagers. She takes with her from 6 to as many 
as 20 idangs ') of sweetmeats, which gift is paid for by the bridegroom's 
mother at the fixed rate of i dollar per idang. This return gift is, 
however, intended for the more advanced in years of the women who 
attend the bride. 

The welcoming {sapa) of these guests is attended with a certain Feast and 


amount of ceremony, but is by no means so tediously protracted as jng". 
at the wedding. Here too we find idangs of the sort which we have 
seen in use at the peiijame'e. At the conclusion of the feast there takes 
place a ceremony (probably a survival from ancient times) which bears 
the name of "handwashing", though there is in fact no washing of 
hands. The mother of the bridegroom rubs some yellow glutinous rice 
behind the ears of the bride [peusunteng see p. 306). The bride then 
greets her with the usual respectful obeisance {seiimbah) and receives 
as a gift in return for this greeting a peculiar ring {ejinchiiii gile), 
which is worn on the thumb ''). Sometimes a money present is given 
instead, and in those districts where it is the custom for the bridegroom 
to give back half the dowry after the wedding, the bride receives this 
half) — usually with an additional sum superadded — on this occasion. 
The ancient adat also prescribes that the bride when returning home 
should receive as a parting gift from her mother-in-law a cow-buffalo. 
This should properly speaking not be slaughtered, but kept as a 
keubeiie peunulang ^) for breeding purposes only, as a special blessing 

1) Nyang to" laitgkah Ion kciiti'oc Im' Jiociicii^ geiijiic Ja'' tiitiig Si A'y<t' nyoe. Si Kya' is 
a pet name for children. 

2) The technical expression is y'l;' gnnipong or runuih /Into =^ "to go to the gampong (or 
house) of tile bridegroom." 

3) The idang of sweetmeats l^feiinajoli) consists of only a single dalong ; the idang for 
feasts is, as we have already seen, composed of two. 

4) This ring consists of a succession of thick knobs or balls held apart by little thin 
strips of metal. 

5) See p. 340 above. 

6) Peunulang is the special term applied to all that children receive from their parents 
for their support. It is thus opposed to peusaka or inherited property, but is taken into 
account on a division of the latter, so that a child who has received more peunulang than 
the others, gets less peusaka. 


is supposed to rest upon it. It often happens, however, tliat the buffalo 
is only handed over to the young woman pro forma, and afterwards 
pohtely returned to the giver. In case of second marriages the adat of 
the keubeti'e peiinulang does not apply. 

The woman herself always stays three complete days in the house 
of her parents-in-law. During this time she is the recipient of constant 
visits from her new connections, who come to offer presents of sirih 
and eggs 'j. All these gifts she brings home with her. Her fellow- 
villagers who form her escort return home on the first day. 

The husband, although usually present in his native gampong during 
these days, takes no share of any kind in the festivities. 

On her return journey-), the wife is escorted by a crowd of people 
from the gampong of her husband, and a procession of her own fellow- 
villagers comes out to welcome her back. 

These meunarX) ceremonies always take place even where both man and 
wife have been married before, and the same may be said of most adats 
connected with the first seven days of the marriage. In the case last 
referred to however there is less merry-making, and even though the 
bride be a young maiden, the circumstance of her husband being of a 
more advanced age usually imparts a calmer tone to the festivities. 

After this first visit of the bride to her parents-in-law she goes to 
see them but seldom. It is only at the two great Mohammedan feasts 
that the adat requires her to go and make her respectful salutations 
[scutnbak), for which she receives a further present of money. When 
she has been about three years married, she is absolved from the 
necessity of presenting herself on tliesc occasions, and in any case 
receives no more money presents. 

The parents and other blood-relations of the married pair also visit 
one another very rarely. It is only important events in the families 
on either side, especially deaths or marriages, which give occasion 
to such visits. Nor do the visitors come in a body but each at his 
own time. Each brings a present of a dollar or two by way of con- 
tribution to defray the expenses of the ceremonies. Those who receive 
such visits, on the other hand, are bound to entertain their guests 

t) The technical name for these visits is /a' brl ranub = going to offer sirih. The sirih 
is brought in the form of the ranub dong already described. 

2) This is technically known as woe ba' meunard = "returning from the mcunaio^^ (see 
note on p. 356). 


in the best possible style [penjamee] with the traditional idangs '). 

Let us here interpolate one word as to the practical significance in Polygamy in 
the social life of Acheh of the polygamy which is permitted by the 
creed of Islam. 

As might be supposed, those who make most use of the custom of 
plurality of wives are to be found among the scions of royal blood 
[tuankns), the ulecbalangs and other lesser chiefs who rank next in 
dignity to these, and the religious teachers or others who stand in the 
odour of sanctity or learning, and to whom many are willing to unite 
their daughters, were it only as their second, third or fourth wives. 
This is all the more true of the principal chiefs, since the distin- 
guished marriage alliances they seek arc as a rule only to be found at 
a great distance from their own homes or territory. Hence as the wife 
does not follow the husband and the latter may not absent himself too 
long from the sphere of his authority, the married life of such couples 
consists of short scenes with long intervals. Many of these chiefs, it is 
true, console themselves for their constant loneliness by illegitimate 
intrigues, but many others attain their purpose by contracting one or 
more marriages of inclination over and above their mariages de raison. 
When their choice falls on women of the lowest class, such marriages 
are frequently dissolved later on by divorce on the ground of satiety, 
though as we shall see, separations of this sort are otherwise less common 
in Acheh than in many other countries of the Malayan Archipelago. 

The great and wealthy, it is true, had till a short time ago, and Concubinage, 
indeed still have to a considerable extent the opportunity of sexual 
intercourse with female slaves, especially those of Nias, who are re- 
markable for their beauty and are not too expensive. These were and 
are so used, but comparatively speaking, to a very moderate extent. 

The Mohammedan law places the children begotten by a free man 
of a slave on a full equality with those born of his free wives. In 
order however to sec this theory actually adopted in practice, we must 
seek a centre of Mohammedan civilization such as Cairo, or towns 
with a very mixed population such as Mecca or Medina. In Acheh 
(as also in the inland parts of Arabia), this custom is only partially 
observed. The legal privileges are the same, but the social position is 
different, and it is never forgotten that a man has slave blood in his veins. 

l) See pp. 320, 324 above 


Even where two free wives of the same husband differ somewhat in 
rank and birth, this difference has its effect on the social position of 
their children. Hence it is that the propagation of the race is so much, 
and we might almost add, so openly and shamelessly interfered with 
by causing of abortion or preventive checks. 

It is especially those who cannot refrain from intercourse with their 
female slaves who make an extensive use of such methods. This docs 
not alter the fact that the fear of failure in the efficacy of the drugs 
used withholds the majority from that concubinage with their slaves 
which is lawful according to the creed of Islam. 

Where such concubinage takes place, the slave is called gunde , and 
the legitimate results of the union are controlled by the Mohammedan 
law. The name gunde is however often also applied, though incor- 
rectly, to 

i". Women of very humble origin, who become (generally for only 
a short time) the wives of men of position such as ule'ebalangs or 

2". Women who are kept in unlawful concubinage, over and above 
the lawful number of four. Few Tuankus, however, regard themselves 
as so far exalted above all consideration for law and morals as to 
admit of their forming such openly illicit connections. Children born 
of such unions, albeit not recognized or legitimized under any hiikoin 
or adat, are still, under the name of aneii gunde , esteemed part of the 
family of their natural father, so long as he himself sets the example 
of so regarding them. 

Persons of humbler rank sometimes indulge in plurality of wives 
when their means admit of such a luxury and the journeys to and 
fro between the abodes of their spouses do not prove too burdensome. 
As a rule, however, they do not choose two wives in the same gam- 
pong, and thus the quarrels between rival consorts of the same husband 
are reduced to a minimum. 

A great number of Achehnese, however, are practically monogamists. 
They only marry a second wife after the death of the first, or where 
incessant domestic quarrels necessitate a divorce. Various causes are 
assigned in explanation of this phenomenon, each of which perhaps 
lends its share towards producing it. 

In the first place there is the husband's position in regard to his 
wife and her family, to whom he is as a rule under very great obli- 


gallons. This prevents him from doing what might be disagreeable to 
them, and his taking a second wife would in most cases be unwelcome 
to the family of the first. 

Secondly, there is the facility for forming illegitimate connections, 
which though strongly condemned by the law and also in theory by 
the adat, do not in point of fact do any injury to the social position 
of the Achehnese who indulges in such intrigues in moderation. 

Finally the paederastic habits of the Achehnese, and (as many think) 
the use of opium '), cause the majority of them to set a lower value 
on intercourse with the opposite sex than is usual among other native 

The financial consequences of marriage for the husband have so far Financial 

, , . ,. results of mar- 

received only a passing notice. ,.; 

The obligations which the Mohammedan law imposes upon a man 
in respect of his wife are nearly all of a financial nature -). He has to 
pay the dowry, which is fixed either by mutual consent or in accordance 
with the bride's position ; as we have seen, the Achehnese jinamee is 
regulated according to the rules laid down by the law. 

The husband is also bound to supply his wife with food, clothing' 
lodging and service in conformity with Iicr social position, and has on 
the other hand the right to require of her within fitting limits, obedience 
and fulfilment of conjugal duties, but not to burden her with domestic 
cares or occupations. 

These rules serve as a basis for the settlement of differences between 
married people when brought before the qadhT, but the married state 
is in fact controlled by quite different principles in all Mohammedan 
countries, and that without any conflict with the law. The latter in 
fact leaves the husband and wife entirely free to give validity to just 
so many of their privileges as they choose. For instance, it is a 
universal adat that the wife should assume the duties of housekeeper, 
and both the universality of this custom and the want of acquaintance 
of the people with the details of the law causes this to be regarded 
almost as an obligation. Marriages of wealthy wives with men of little 

1) I must here observe that while opium-smoking is very common on the West and 
North-East coasts, it is not at all so prevalent in Acheh Proper as is usually supposed. 

2) The man is never bound to connubial intercourse (see p. 352 above); and is only 
required to pay regular visits to his wife where he has more than one. In the latter case 
the claims of the wives are relative only and not absolute, i. e. he is bound to spend as 
much time with one as he does with the other. 


or no property whom their learning, birth or other qualifications render 
eligible partis are also of very frequent occurrence. No wife would 
think of enforcing against such a husband her rights to maintenance 
etc., much less such maintenance as befits her position; indeed they 
much more often support the man. Even where the means of both are 
more on a par, such financial obligations are seldom taken into account. 

There is thus in this respect a great and generally prevalent differ- 
ence between the teaching of the law and the reality. The nature of 
this difference exhibits a special character in each country, to be 
explained from past history and from the social conditions of the 
present time. 

In Acheh, where the adat assumes the mastery even in questions of 
domestic law, and the adat-judge is generally the supreme arbitrator, 
these peculiar departures from the law have not only a greater degree 
of stability, but also serve — albeit in conflict with the hukom — as 
a standard in the settlement of disputes. 

The Achehnese adat sets the husband free during a certain period 
from all obligation to maintain his wife. The length of this period 
depends on the amount of the dowry, irrespective of whether it is in 
fact paid in full, or only half, or even not at all '). For every bungkay 
of gold (25 dollars) of the marriage gift, the bride is made dependent 
for a full year on the support of her parents. All that the man gives 
her during this period is regarded as a free gift, even though these 
gifts are themselves to some extent regulated by the adat. 

These presents consist first of all in the monthly biaya ^) of 3 or 4 
dollars or more, which may be almost considered as boarding expenses 
for the 10 to 15 days in each month which the young man spends in 
the house of his wife. In the next place he has to "bring home meat" ') 
as it is called, at the two great Mohammedan feasts, and especially 
that at the end of the fasting month. In our description of the feasts 
we have seen that it is an established adat in Acheh to form small 
societies for the slaughter of buffaloes before these feast days, and the 
ancient custom required the young man to bring home to his wife a 
handsome share of the meat from the slaughter in his own gampong. 

1) The dowry is not infrequently (especially by persons of position) h.inded back after 
the conclusion of the contract. 

2) See p. 327 above. 

3) Piiw'oe sie ; cf. p. 237. 


This gift of meat gradually gave place ') to other gifts of a fixed 
value. Where the dowry amounts to one bungkay of gold, it is con- 
sidered proper for the husband to present to his wife 6 dollars as a 
feast-gift the first time; on later occasions 5 dollars or so is sufiicient. 
For a dowry of 2 bungkays these feast-gifts may amount to 8 or 10 
dollars respectively and so on. To this are often added garments and 
ornaments made of the precious metals. The old appellation is however 
still retained, and though it is quite well understood that a wife has 
received from her husband money only as a feast-gift, the question is 
asked all the same "How much meat has he brought home to you?" 
{padum jipuwoe sicr). 

Here again it must be borne in mind that only gifts of a transitory 
description (such as meat or the biaya and other money presents) 
become the property of the woman, while in regard to personal orna- 
ments she can only regard as her own what she receives on the /"i day 
after her marriage '-), and the present made in token of the loss of her 
virginity '). 

On the feast-days the husband also receives a return present from 
his wife, the first time a suit of clothes, which he proceeds forthwith 
to don ; in later years his parents-in-law present him with a dollar or so 
by way of feast-gift. On such occasions the parents-in-law appear as 
it were by chance in the passage when their son-in-law is about to 
leave the house, and he seizes the opportunity to make his obeisance 
(seumbali) in all haste, for we know how shy the Achehnese is of any 
encounter with the parents of his wife ! 

The period during which the wife still remains a charge upon her janjijinamee. 
parents is called janji jinamee ■*). While it lasts, there subsists between 
the pair a peculiar relation which is entirely in conflict with Moham- 
medan law. 

This law allows unconditionally to the husband a certain definite 
portion of the goods of his wife on her decease, and vice versa. In 
Acheh this right of inheritance does not become effective till after the 
janji jinamee has ceased. 

1) These gifts of meat are not however entirely discontinued. Most men whose gampongs 
are not too far off from those of their wives bring presents of meat as well as of money. 

2) See p. 326 above. 

3) See p. 327 above. 

4) This properly means "the dowry period agreed on" since the length of this period 
depends upon the amount of the Jinamii, 

Ha' balee Should his wife die during this period, the husband in Acheh has 

and pulang . , 

balee. » right to only one of two things; he either gets back half of the 

dowry '), which sum is known as ha balec"^), or he waives this right 
and chooses rather to marry a sister or other near relative of the 
deceased. In the latter event the jinamee is mentioned at the marriage 
but never paid. Marriages of this kind are known as pulang balee ■'). 

A wife who becomes a widow during the janji jinamee, has just as 
little claim to her legitimate portion, but receives in its place a sum 
of money equal to half of her dowry, while in certain cases to which 
we shall presently allude, the walls of her husband offer her a suitor 
for her hand, preferably of the same family. It is only where the hus- 
band is very rich, and leaves behind him few relatives and those very 
distant ones, that the widow gets her proper share. 

It is also understood that if a woman dies during the jinamee period, 
the expenses of the laying out of the dead body, the funeral feasts etc., 
must be borne by her parents, but propriety requires that the widower 
should politely request his parents-in-law to allow him to bear the 
cost of one of the kanduris, as for instance that held on the seventh 
day after the death. Sometimes the father of the deceased privately 
warns his son-in-law not to expend too much money in this way, as any 
hopes he may cherish of a share in the subsequent distribution of property 
will be disappointed, and he will get no more than the ha' balee. Yet 
often even in such cases the husband gives as costly a feast as he can. 
reuugklch. As soon as the year or years of the janji jinamee are over, the 
woman is committed to the sole charge of her husband. If she is an 
orphan, this is done without much formality, but with great ceremony 
if her fathe.- or mother be still living. The parents "put her forth" 
[peungkleh ■*) in the presence of all the authorities of the gampong and 
other notabilities as witnesses, and mark the occasion by a public 

i) If the dowry has been only paid in half (see p. 340 above), the widower pays the 
remaining h.alf and afterwards receives it back as ha' balee. 

2) Ha'' is the Arab. //(7(/(/ = right, that which appertains to a person, and I'alt'e means 
both widow and widower. 

3) It is said: mate adoe., pulang balee ngoii a = "to make use, after the younger sister's 
death, of the right of wedding her elder sister without paying a dowry" and vice versa, 
ma/e' a, pulang balee ngon ad'oi. Cases of both such nianiages occur. 

4) Peungkleh.^ which properly means "to set apart, to give up control of," is the 
technical term for the action of the parents or next of kin in this matter. After the con- 
clusion of the ceremony it is said of the woman that she ka metingkl'eli.^ i. e. is put forth 
and placed under the protection of her husband. 


feast [kandiiri] consecrated with prayers. In the set speech in which 
the father abandons all direct interference with the concerns of his 
daughter for the remainder of her married life, he sums up all that she 
has received from him, so that no unpleasantness may arise on any 
subsequent distribution of her property. Either he or another in his 
name delivers himself somewhat as follows: — "The reason why I 
have summoned you hither, Teuku Keuchi', Teungku and all ye elders, 
is that I have now "put forth" my daughter N; be this known unto 
all of you, O elders. What I have given her is as follows: a pair of 
anklets 6 bungkay in weight, one yo of rice land, a pair of earrings, 
this house and all its equipment. This is what I wished to inform you 
of, be it known unto you all." The keuchi' replies in the name of the 
assembled company: "We have heard it." 

Just as all that the husband brings to the home of the pair, even l-ai» silia- 


in the form of presents to his wife, remains with few exceptions his 
own property, so the wife retains an indisputable right of ownership 
over all that she can show to have been brought thither by her. In 
districts where it is the custom for the wife to assist the husband in 
his employment, the property accumulated during the marriage by 
their respective toil is in the event of a divorce divided in equal 
shares between the man and the woman or their respective heirs. 
Where one of the two dies, the survivor obtains in addition to this 
half share his lawful portion of the heritable property, to which the 
other half of their common earnings is regarded as belonging. Thus we 
find in Acheh the same peculiarity that exists in Java and Madura ')> 
and most Malayan countries, viz. that where the woman is the 

l) Van den Berg mentions this adat in his essay on the Af-vijkingoi pp. 474 et seq. In 
regard to this subject he makes fewer of the gross blunders into which he elsewhere falls, 
but here again he gives us nothing but what he has derived from books without a trace 
of "notes personally made by him." He might for instance have discovered by personal 
enquiry that the exceptions he mentions (BantEn and a number of other places) are really 
no exceptions at all; the only reason why the saguna-sakaya or common earnings are not 
divided in these districts is that they have no existence, since the women there do not 
assist their husbands in their work. He might also have found out that the division in the 
proportion of 2 to I, though of frequent occurrence, is by no means universal, since in 
many places it is the custom to enquire first into the circumstances, and then to decide 
what is the just proportion which each has earned. In Madiun for instance, division into 
equal parts is very customary. On page 477 Van den Berg makes the curious deduction 
that this adat is specially Javanese, because it is also to be met with in outlying Dutch 
possessions such as Southern Celebes." 


fellow-worker of her husband, there gradually grows up a kind of 
partnership between the two. 

Such property acquired by common labour is especially to be met 
with in the highland districts of Acheh, where the wife assists her 
husband in field work. In the lowland districts, such sharing of their 
labour by their wives is naturally excluded in the cases of fishermen, 
traders and manufacturers, but here the same is the case also with 
regard to agricultural work which is entirely performed by the men. 
It is only of late, owing to the Achehnese war and the disordered 
conditions arising therefrom, that the women have ceased to be ashamed 
of field labour and accordingly are entitled to the half share, as allowed 
by the adat, of accumulations during marriage. 

This property acquired in common is called atra or laba sihareukat^) 
(goods or profits gained by common toil), or atra or laba meucharikat 
(goods or profits held in partnership). As opposed to this all that is 
derived from other sources is characterized as atra ba' kit (property 
that one receives from one's father). 

Where the adat of division of the atra siliareukat into equal portions 
is firmly established, it is sometimes applied although the grounds for 
it are non existent or very far-fetched. Suppose for instance that a 
highlander goes to the West Coast to plant pepper, and returns later 
on with his earnings, it might be said that such gains could not 
possibly be classed as atra siliareukat ; in fact the adat forbids the 
husband to take his wife with him to another district. Yet it often 
happens that the half of all that the husband has accumulated by such 
means is made over under the name of common earnings to the wife 
or her heirs in case of a dissolution of the marriage by divorce or the 
husband's death. To give this a show of legality, a formal enquiry is 
made as to whether the wife gave her husband at his departure bu 
kitlali ^) with fish and sirih as provender for his journey. Such provender 
is then regarded as the capital with which the man embarks on his 
work since his subsequent requirements (some very simple tools of 
husbandry and rice for the first year) are supplied him by the chief 
in whose territory he proceeds to plant pepper. 

1) Hareukat means "occupation," and the profits derived from one's employment. It is 
"also used as a verb in the sense of "to earn one's bread,'" "to carry on an employment," 
"to go forth to seek one's fortune." 

2) The name given to rice folded up in a peculiar way in plantain leaves. Fishermen, 
travellers, etc., often take their food from home in this fashion. 


§ 4- Divorce. 

Before proceeding to describe the most usual methods of divorce in Compulsory 
Acheh, we should point out that marriages to which the man, or both '"^''""S'^s. 
man and woman, are compelled (in conflict with the Mohammedan 
law), are of much less common occurrence in Acheh than in Java '), 
yet do occasionally occur in the former country. 

Most chiefs prefer to punish pregnancy in the unmarried by im- 
posing a money fine and directing that abortion be caused, rather than 
by compulsory marriage ; but there are nevertheless some who employ 
the latter method. Cases also occur here (just as in Banten) where the 
man is compelled to marry the woman on her complaining to the chief 
of his overtures to illicit intercourse and producing as evidence (tanda), 
like Potiphar's wife, a fragment of a garment worn by him. 

Separation is rare in Acheh as compared with other ]\Iohammedan Faskh. 
countries. We have seen that the woman, even when abandoned by 
her husband for years together, does not readily resort to a demand 
for pasah [faskli) or judicial separation, for she seldom wants for 
lodging or the means of support. Where, however, such a demand is 
made before the kali, he, like the pangulus in some parts of Java, 
grants the pasah rather more readily than is consonant with the strict 
interpretation of the Mohammedan law. Still the Achehnese kali cannot 
pronounce faskh without the special permission of the uleebalang, and 
where the latter forbids its exercise in a particular case, the faskh 
does not take effect, even though all the conditions required by the 
religious law may be fulfilled. 

The ordinary divorce (Ach. taleiie from the Arab. /a/«^) of the woman Xalaq. 
by her husband is also of less frequent occurrence in Acheh than in 
other parts of the Archipelago. The man feels himself under a deep 
obligation, for many obvious reasons, to the family of his wife, his 
relations with whom border on dependence. This withholds him in most 

l) In Java such marriages, especially between persons who have been detected in illicit 
intercourse, are much more frequent than would appear to be the case from Van den Berg's 
oft quoted essay (p. 466). They take place when the night watch on their rounds find a 
pair on terms of too great intimacy. Chiefs compel their followers, pangulus the inha- 
bitants of their districts, to marry a pregnant woman simply on her unsupported assurance 
as to who her seducer is. The woman is generally divorced after a short time, but in the 
meantime this expedient has provided the yet unborn child with a father. 


cases from breaking the marriage tie for the many trifling reasons 
which in other places, as in Java for instance, give rise to such 

Neither momentary anger nor the cooling down of first love, but 
violent and irreconcilable differences between the pair form the cause 
of most cases of talcitc which occur in Acheh. 

The law, as we know, prescribes after a single taldq a period i^iddah) 
during which the woman may not marry, and during which the 
husband may, if he please, reconsider his decision '). This latter privi- 
lege the man enjoys only after the first and second time he has 
pronounced divorce against a given wife; the third divorce is irrevo- 
cable. After a first and second divorce, if the man has not made timely 
use of his right of recall [ruju) a new marriage can still be concluded 
between the pair by mutual consent. When divorce has been pronounced 
three times against the same woman by her husband, this method 
of reunion becomes impossible, and they can only remarry if the wife 
has meantime been wedded to another man and separated again from 
him. In districts where the talaq is extensively resorted to, it frequently 
happens that both parties desire reunion even after three divorces. In 
such cases a middleman is employed, who for a certain fee enters into 
a marriage with the divorced woman, and then at once divorces her 
again to give his principal the chance of remarrying her. 

This device, however, can be made use of twice only, for after 3X3 
divorces the marriage is irrevocably and for ever dissolved. 

As may easily be supposed from the comparative rarity of divorce 
in Acheh, the lay-folk are but little conversant with the rules con- 
trolling this subject, of which only a few of the main principles have 
been sketched above. In Java on the other hand, most of the people 
are tolerably familiar, through experience amongst their own surround- 
ings, both with what we have described above and with many other 
similar technicalities as well. 

As a result of the fact that the talaq as applied in Acheh is not an 

i) For a woman who has periods the '^iiii/nli amounts to three seasons of sexual purity, 
the first of which may be that during which the talaq was pronounced, thus comprising at 
least three periods; for others it is three full months. In the case of a pregnant woman it 
lasts till about 40 days after childbirth. In all Mohammedan countries of the E. Indian Archipe- 
lago it has been usual to fix the ''idda/i of all non-pregnant women at three months and ten days, 
through fear of errors arising from ignorance or miscalculation on the part of the women. Of late 
however, Arabic influence has caused an increasing tendency to adhere to the letter of the law. 


expression of ill-temper, but the means used to terminate a position 
which has become impossible, the permission given by the law to 
pronounce three taldqs all at the same time and thus make the sepa- 
ration at once irrevocable seems to have] been made use of from the 
earliest times. Thus arose the idea popular in Acheh, that a divorce 
is necessarily composed of three parts. 

There are two different ways of pronouncing the taldq in Acheh. 
Some take three fragments of ripe betelnut ') [Ihec krd pinenng masa) 
and hand them over one by one with a kind of dignified anger to the 
wife with the words "one taleu'e , two taleiics, three taleiies, thou art 
to me but as a sister in this world and the next ^)." Thereupon they 
give notice of the dissolution of the marriage to the teungkit. The idea 
of divorce is thus intimately connected in the minds of women with 
these three pieces of betelnut. When particularly angry with her 
husband a woman will ask him to give her "the three bits of betelnut." 

Others, however, betake themselves to the teungku of a neighbouring 
gampong, and charge him with the task of giving notice in writing in 
their name to the authorities of the gampong that they have pronounced 
the threefold taldq. This notification, called siirat taleiic' is addressed 
to "the Teungku, the Keuchi' and elders of the gampong." It is wrapped 
in a cover of fine cloth costing about two dollars, called lape sural. 

Recall [riiju) is thus as a rule excluded under this method. It occa- Recall, 
sionally happens that a man says in anger to his wife: "I divorce you'')," 
adding no further words, and afterwards repents of what he has done. 
In such a case most are aware that a remedy exists, since the three 
pieces of betelnut have not been employed, but as a rule they have 
to go in the first place to an ulama to ask him to explain in what 
that remedy consists. After enquiry, he declares that in the case in 
question only one taldq has "fallen *)," and that what has been done 

1) The Malays have the same custom, but with them any small objects, such as pieces 
of paper etc. may be used as tokens, and not fragments of betelnut only. {Translator). 

2) Sitaleue\ dua taleu'e\ Ih'e'e taleiiV., goto sah s'eedara donya akkeral. 

3) Ka ktitaletie\ la kupculheueh or gata ha clire rigon Ion. 

4) In most of the languages of the Archipelago the words used indicate "falling," the 
idea being that the three talaqs are as it were suspended over the woman's head, and that 
one or more of them may fall at a given time. .Another very common notion is that the 
man originally "possesses" three talaqs of his wife, and that as often as he pronounces 
one of these, he "gives" it to her. From this we can readily understand the prevailing idea 
that the woman can, with her husband's consent, purchase from him one of the three talaqs 
that are in his possession. 



may therefore be set asitle, but adds that the reconciliation should be 
consecrated by giving a feast to a number of devout poor {petijamcc 
paki), and this is generally done. 

The'lddah. The ^iddah is just as little understood by the laity as the rnjii^. It 
is known indeed that a woman cannot marry again immediately after 
a divorce, but as a rule she seldom wants to do so. Where there is 
any doubt, the teungku's advice is again sought and he decides that 
according to the adat of Acheh three months and ten days must be 
allowed to elapse except in case of pregnancy '). The use of interme- 
diaries to make reunion possible is practically nonexistent and is known 
only to such as have studied the kitabs or books of the law. 

Where the ground of divorce is incompatability of temper, it is almost 
always the woman who urges her husband to the final step of giving 
the three taleuc\ If he is slow to yield, she imprisons him in the house, 
generally in the inner room, until he meets her wishes by giving her 
the "three pieces of betelnut." He might easily set himself free from 
this temporary confinement, but most men are ashamed of the diabolical 
outcry raised on such occasions by their wives, who sum up all their 
evil characteristics, real or imaginary, in the most unflattering form in 
the hearing of the whole gampong. 

Khul'. Should the measures of compulsion adopted by the woman prove 

fruitless, she may have recourse to the remedy known in the Arabic 
law-books as klnil'^, which consists in the purchase of the talaq by the 
wife from her husband '-). In such a contract even a single talaq is 
irrevocable % as is implied in the very idea of purchase. In Acheh this 

1) After the death of the husliand an ^iddah is also observed in Acheh lasting 4 months 
and 10 days. This is quite in accordance with Mohammedan law. 

2) Called tUius talak by the Malays. It is occasionally resorted to in the Peninsula, but 
is not a general practice. {^Translator). 

3) This again seems not to have been understood by Van den Berg. On p. 484 of his 
Afzvijkin^cn appears a note, wherein he expresses surprise at Winter's applying the term 
khiil'^ to the temporary divorce of a wife brought into practice by the princes of Java, 
when they wish to wed a concubine with child. If he employed the ordinary single divorce, 
the prince, who always has four wives, would not be able at once to marry another, but 
would have to await the conclusion of the ^iddah and the period {rujii') allowed for recall. 
On the other hand if he gave his wife a three-fold divorce, although he might then imme- 
diately wed another, he could not remarry the divorced one later on, as he wishes to do. 
He therefore selects the khul' method as the only one which combines the power of 
eventual lemarriage with immediate se])aration. Some teachers even hold that the khul~ can 
take place more than three times without preventing a renewal of the marriage, and the 
princes of the Native States adhere to this dictum. 


is known as the "redemption of a divorce" (teiiboih taleiie), and it 
usually costs double the amount of the jiname'e. Cases of such bought 
divorce are however rare and only to be met with among the lower 

The comparative rarity of the talaq, the fact that the woman is Position of 

... the woman. 

mistress oi the house (pruinoh), the efforts of the men to obtam wives 
of social standing not inferior to their own, all this and much more 
besides testifies to the position of the woman in Achehnese society, a 
fairly high one for a Mohammedan country. This is indeed what we 
should expect to find in a country where the throne was occupied for 
more than half a century (1641 — 1699) by four successive female rulers. 
Even now there are instances of female government in the dependen- 
cies '), and it is the rule rather than the exception to find the wives 
of uleebalangs and other chiefs exercising a very considerable influence 
on all their actions. It is very common for the wife of a chief to wield 
her husband's authority in his absence, and a case occurred not long 
ago on the East Coast, where a woman of the ruling class, with her 
hair hanging loose, took actual part in a civil war. 

Great freedom of action, some knowledge of affairs (within the limits 
of the ordinary Achehnese horizon) and a sound understanding are to 
be met with even among women who do not belong to the ruling 

The women are also the hereditary guardians of old-fashioned words 
and expressions, the meanings of proverbial sayings and so forth. When 
enquiring into such matters I have been often told by Achehnese that 
they must refer to their wives or mothers, and I can say that the 
latter seldom failed to supply the desired information. 

§ 5. Pregnancy and Birth. Early years of childhood. 

Before proceeding to consider the relations of child to parent in Acheh, Pregnancy, 
let us say a few words as to the birth of the child and the early days 
of his life. 

At some time between the 4''i and 6^^ months of pregnancy, the 

l) See the essay of Van I.angen, entitled Atjeh's Westkust^ in Tijdschr. Kon. Nederl. 
Aardrijks. Genootschap, 2"' Series \'ol. VI (longer articles) p. 38. 


adat prescribes a formal visit of the husband's mother to her daughter- 
in-law. The former is accompanied on such occasions by about ten other 
women. This ceremony is called "bringing rice" (ja me bit oxjababii) 
or where persons of wealth and position are spoken of, "bringing a 
great pot of rice" [jd mi dattgdang) '). Of humbler folk it is said that 
they "bring a naleli '-)." As a matter of fact well-to-do people take with 
them a large pot [kanet) of boiled rice, another of goats'-flesh and a 
great tray [dalong) of fruit, to the total value of about 25 dollars, or 
else they save themselves the trouble by giving "the dangdang un- 
cooked" [dangdang meuntah) '), i. e. the actual sum of money named 
above. Those of humbler rank confine their gift to a kathig^) oi cooked 
rice and a bowl of meat, or to bu kulah ^) and some additional dishes. 

The mother-in-law remains for two or three nights under her daughter- 
in-law's roof, but it is only on the day of her arrival that she is en- 
tertained in the way we have described (peujamec) ''). At her departure 
she is presented with some tobacco or clothing material as a return gift. 

A second visit of the same description and of similar duration is 
paid by the mother-in-law about a month after the vie bu, and is known 
as ba meidineum. On this occasion she brings with her sundry kinds 
of sweetmeats [peunajoh) and fruits. 
P.intang In Acheh, no less than in Java, the pregnant woman must pay 

particular regard to certain mysterious rules [pantang], carelessness in 
the observance of which is supposed to be attended with evil results 
both to herself and her child '). For instance, she must not sit at the 
top of the steps leading up to the house {ba' ule'e reunyeun), lest her 

1) A pot (kanet) of a very large size when used for cooking rice is csWd kanit dangdang. 

2) Naleh is a measure (see p. 20 1 above) for raw rice whether husked or unhusked. 
Baskets (tateng^ are manufactured of rattan or bili, to hold exactly a nalch. These are also 
sometimes used for carrying cooked rice. 

3) We thus find the expressions dangdang masd' and dangdang metin/ah^ on the same 
analogy as biaya masa' and meuntah (see pp. 325 — 26 above). 

4) See note 2 above. 

5) See as to this the note to p. 366. The name is taken from the manner in which the 
boiled rice is packed in leaves. 

6) See p. 320 above. 

7) Very similar superstitions prevail among the Malays of the Peninsula. In addition to 
those here mentioned, a pregnant woman must always carry a knife or other iron implement 
when she walks abroad, and must let no one walk behind her. It is also regarded as 
extremely dangerous to pass beneath the tree known as chermai or the pisang batu or 
banggala. This reminds one of the superstitious objection English people have to walking 
under a ladder. (^Translator). 


labour be difficult, nor must she be allowed to see monkeys for fear 
the child should resemble them. If her husband goes out for the evening 
(outside the gampong) he must not return direct to the house, but 
must first go and sit for a time in some other place, as for instance 
the ineiinasah. Should he neglect this rule, the dreaded biirnng '), the 
Achehnese potitianak (of which more anon) will most likely follow him 
into the house. Superstitions of this sort are very numerous. In Java 
the husband is forbidden to slaughter animals ^) during his wife's 
pregnancy, for fear the child should come into the world mutilated ; 
but in Acheh disregard of this prohibition is supposed only to affect 
the meat, causing it to have a nauseous smell (/lanji). 

The relations and friends of the woman also pay her occasional 
visits at this period, bringing her dishes of food (me bii) ; but these 
visits are not so ceremonious as that of her mother-in-law. Women in 
this condition arc much given to organizing picnic-parties [vieurainicn). 
They go with a crowd of friends to the seashore or some other suitable 
place out in the country, or else to a mosque. There they pass the 
day in gossip and enjoy a feast, the food being either cooked on the 
spot or brought ready prepared from home. 

In the seventh month the mother of the woman summons the midwife 
and makes a preliminary engagement of her services. "Should God 
will," she says 'that my daughter should fall ill, I leave it all in 
your hands." After this the midwife pays no more visits till the con- 
finement, unless she considers occasional massage [urot) necessary. 

All expenses of the first confinement fall on the parents of the The coafi- 

.... -u • nement. 

woman. The husband may evince his good wdl by contnbutmg some 
fish, oil and tobacco towards the housekeeping, but he gives no money 
save in the form of fees or presents. 

The confinement generally takes place in the back verandah [sramoe 
likot). At the beginning of labour the woman simply lies down on the 
plank floor, or on a mat if the flooring be of bamboo. Fastened to 
the ceiling above her head is a rope which she employs to raise her- 
self slightly during labour; she leans against another woman and holds 

1) A bogey inimical to pregnant women. 

2) An exception is made in cases when such slaughter is required for special purposes 
defined by traditional custom. On the like pretext almost all pantang prohibitions may be 
occasionally transgressed. 


fast by the rope. Hence the expression for a woman in chililbirth, 
uratcng mat taloc='^&\\Q that holds the rope')." 

Meanwhile the husband waits in the jure'e or in the front verandah, 
but when the confinement is difficult his help is sometimes invoked. 
The custom in Acheh in this respect resembles that in vogue in Java'-). 
He must step backwards and forwards [lingketic] seven times over his 
wife's body, and blow hard through his fist on a spot [mbot-mbot) just 
above her forehead. He must also recite a certain prayer [diia or 
tangkay seulusoh) over a bowl of water which the woman then drinks ; 
this is supposed to make her delivery more speedy. This incantation 
is just as meaningless as most others of the kind, but the general in- 
tention is clear enough — to open that which is closed, and to clear 
away all hindrance '). 

Should the ii' scidiisoli be of no avail, a tciingku whose prayers 

are known to be efficacious is called upon to charm some water with 

his incantations. For the rest, matters are left to nature. Deaths in 

childbirth seem to be of common occurrence. 

Lucky chil- Great expectations are cherished in regard to children born feet 
dren. _ 

foremost {jalieuc) and these born with a caul {nieiisarong). The first are 

supposed to have an incomparable natural gift for massage (urot), and 
their prayers and their spittle are thought to have great curative pro- 
perties. Those born with a caul are believed to be invulnerable [keubay ^). 
To ascertain whether they are likely to possess this gift in a high 
degree, a cocoanut is placed in the fold of the caul [sarong) and left 
to sprout. If it bursts through the skin of the caul it is a bad omen, 
but if it is constrained by the covering to assume a crooked growth, 
then it is certain that neither lead nor steel will ever threaten the 
infant's life. The caul is kept, and at the circumcision of the child it 
is roasted and given him to eat. 

1) In Java the woman is so placed that her position corresponds with the direction 
taken by the nearest running water or with the line of the split bamboos which form the 
flooring. In Acheh no attention is paid to her position. 

2) And in Malaya. The Malays explain this custom as an atonement by the woman for 
any sins she may have committed against her husband. Such faults are supposed to be 
condoned by this symbolical trampling uuder foot of the wife by the husband, who should 
touch her body lightly with his feet as he steps over it. {^Translator). 

3) .\tsi pater nulla talia carmina noscit, satis est ei penem in aquam, quae mulieri 
dabitur, intrudere. 

4) This reminds us of the wellknown superstition among English sailors as to the 
efficacy of a child's caul as a charm against death by drowning. {Translator). 

As in Java, the placenta is regarded as the younger brother or sister The younger 

/ 7. ■ /- 1 1 1 1 1 1, 1 . • • .-II- •• brother (pla- 

(adoc ') of the new-born child '■), but the estimation of the liquor amnii centa). 
as the elder brother is unknown in Achch. 

The child, still united to its adbe, is placed for the time being on The oven, 
a fine large betel-nut spathe. The woman, after being cleansed and 
treated with sundry oils ') which her mother holds in readiness, is laid 
upon a bench or platform [prataili). After the woman has recovered 
a little, an oven is placed beneath this platform, and in this a fire is 
kept up continually for forty-four days *). The idea is that the almost 
insupportable heat and smoke will counteract the collection of damp 
in the woman's body and assist in quickly restoring her figure to its 
former shape. During this period it is said of the woman that she is 
"engaged in drying herself over the fire" {madcu'cng "). She is then 
called ureueng didapu i. e. "one that lies close to the hearth." 

The woman suffers dreadfully under this process, and tosses hither 
and thither to save her skin from being scorched. She is not allowed 
to quench her thirst with water, but must be content with a little 
tea. She gets nothing to cool her parched mouth except some sugar- 
cane and pineapple which she is allowed to chew. Of late a less severe 
treatment of women after childbirth has begun to be adopted in imi- 
tation of the Javanese. 

As an instance of "pantang" during this period of drying''), the woman 

1) Hence the saying Si N. mate meukaiiiat ado'e = "N. (the woman) died because the 
younger brother was not brought to the birth." 

2) The Malays have this notion too; when an infant smiles it is said to be "thinking 
of its younger brother" {adek). The Malays do not keep the placenta; they put it in a jar 
and bury it in the ground and plant a cocoanut over it. The tree that grows from this 
serves as a token of the child's age. ( Translator). 

3) Miriyeu' kayee pittih (kayu putehj, minycii* doythun (olive oil) and jninvnC sribugnna 
or minyeii khnto. 

4) As to the signifance of a period of 44 days after birth, marriage, death etc., see pp. 264, 324. 

5) This is an abbreviated form derived from daJciieiti; with the addition of the inserted 
syllable eiim. Dadetieng = "to dry over the fire." (transitive). As to this custom cf. G. H. 
Niemann in the Bijdragcri van het KoninkL Inst, voor de Taal-.^ Land- en Volkenktinde 
van Nederl.-Indie for 1892, p. 36. 

[The Malay is Hdiang. The Malays only apply the "oven" at intervals as a rule, and 
the intensity of the heat is gradually diminished. The wood used for fuel must contain no 
poison ; the kind most generally employed is a variety of mangrove known in the Malay 
Peninsula as api-api, Kambutanwood is also used occasionally. [^Translator'). 

6) The Malays have a curious pantang-rule as to the wood used for the oven; those 
who tend the fire must be most careful not to break the burning brands, as to do so would 
be likely to cause sickness to the child. (^Translator). 


must eat rice from a bowl and not off a plate. It is thought that 
neglect of this rule would cause her body to swell in an unbecoming 
manner after childbirth. 

After the mother has been laid on the prataih, the infant is attended 
to. The navel-cord is, as in Java, cut with a piece of sharp bamboo ') 
[tcnmen -= the Jav. zvilad), and to ward off evil influences the midwife 
spits [seutnbd) upon the child from her mouth a slaver composed of 
chewed sirih, turmeric [kutiyct), betel-nut, gambir and lime. 

The midwife then wraps the child in some strips of cloth and hands 
it over to the father. If it is a boy, the latter repeats in his right ear 
the adan or bang (the formula used as a summons to the five daily 
prayers), and in his left the kamat or final exhortation before the per- 
formance of a religious exercise. In the case of a girl he limits himself 
to the last. The intention of this pious custom is to make the child 
hear, immediately after its birth, the Mohammedan confession of faith, 
which occurs frequently in both these formulas. Where the father is 
incapable of performing this office, the services of a teungku are 
engaged. At the same time the father gives a fee of one or two dollars 
to the midwife, who after her first attendance on the child also receives 
a money present from the woman '-) and another from her mother-in-law. 

A first born child {ancu phon) is presented by his father with a 
couple of dollars, which he puts under the infant's sleeping-place, to 
be spent by the mother's parents for the child's advantage. 
Theburong. The child is now laid beside its mother on the prataih, and care is 
taken to spread some raw rice beneath its pillows. This is one of the 
numerous devices employed both about the prataih and all through 
the house, to avert the dreaded biiroiig (pontianak). Pieces of wood of 
a variety with a malodorous bark •'') supposed to frighten away the 
burong, are laid all round the platform. Over the mother's head is 
hung, bell-wise, the hollow half-shell of a cocoanut, suspended by a 
cord passing through its top. To the end of this cord, inside the bell, 
is fastened a durb'e ruiigkom, the thorn of a large tree which bears 
small sour-sweet fruits. 

The stairway or ladder leading up to the house is protected against 

1) The buloh^ the only variety of thornless bamboo found in Acheh. 

2) This present is called k'oh ptisat or lafp pusal. .\mong the humbler folk it amounts 
to half a dollar, but those who are fairly well off give two dollars. 

3) For instance the kayie mmih-meuih^ also called maih-maih. 


the attacks of the burong by means of a strip of rattan {azvc) slung 
round the steps on one side ; this is first consecrated by a tangkay or 
incantation. Sometimes an aren-rope [talh'e jo") to which the burong is 
equally averse, is used in place of this. Seven or thrice that number 
of filaments of the aren-bark [purcli jo'), charmed in a similar way, arc 
also placed under the pillows or sleeping-mat of the mother, or else 
fixed in the ground beneath the stairs. 

The burong (like the knnti of the Sundanese) is generally believed 
to be much afraid of palm-leaf fibres (Mai. lidi) and old fishing-nets, 
yet these arc not used in Acheh as charms '). 

Under the stairs and also under the guha (the hole in the floor of 
the back verandah, which serves as a latrine for sick people and young 
children) some thorny twigs of pandan (diirb'e seuke) are laid on the 
ground to scare away burong. 

The burong -) of Achehnese superstition has much in common with 
the kunti or kuntianak of the Sundanese and the sundi'l bolong^) which 
is an object of dread in certain parts of Java. Like the latter the 
burong is conceived of as having the form of a woman with a great hole 
in her back, showing the vital organs. It is supposed that many of 
them are the spirits of women who have led an unchaste life and come 
to an unhappy end in consequence. It is also believed that the number 
of this malignant race of spirits is added to by the ghosts of women 
slain by a burong in childbed, and who then become burongs them- 

The means resorted to for protection against the burong are also 
to a great extent the same as those employed to drive away the kunti. 
The incantations used to exorcise the burong are essentially identical 
with the janipe or japa customary in Java. Recourse is also had to 
abuse of the burong, and she is driven away by being shown that her 

1) In the West of Java on the other hand, they are universally so employed. 

2) The word is exactly identical in sound with the Malay burong = "bird." But "bird" 
in Achehnese is chic/um^ and their expression for the spirit inimical to women in childbed 
has no connection in the mind of the .\chehnese with the M.ilay word. 

3) Compare also the Arabian Umm a(-(ibyan ox qarinah (see my "Mekka" Vol. 11 pp.123 — 24). 
The Malays also believe in the pontianak\ but even more dreaded is the penanggalan^ a 

sort of second self of certain living persons who have the mysterious power of detaching 
their heads and pulling out their entrails so as to hang loose in front. These dread beings 
are supposed to visit at night houses where women in childbed lie, so the midwives often 
fasten strips of m£ngkuang below the steps to catch in the protruding entrails and bar the 
entrance of the plnanggalan. (^Translator). 


enemies know her name and origin and that they have a greater 
mastery of charms than she. 
Leube Pen- As might be supposed, however, the biirong has some characteristics 


which are pecuharly Achehnese. Sundry strange tales are told by the 
Achehncse as to her origin. These exhibit local differences, but agree 
in some respects, especially in the assertion that one Leube ') Peureuba, 
who in his lifetime was a liatib or Friday preacher in a mosque, played 
a principal part in connection therewith. 

This man had an intrigue with a certain woman, and his passion 
for her was so great that one Friday he was still dallying with her 
when the time for the weekly service arrived. He betook himself in 
all haste to the mosque, and omitted the bath of purification which 
is indispensable after sexual intercourse for the efficacy of a galat or 
prayer. He also forgot to return to his mistress her earrings, which for 
a jest he had hidden on the bara or main beam of the house. 

When he had mounted the pulpit and commenced the service in 
the customary manner, leaning on his great staff, his paramour entered 
the mosque and enquired of him "where are my earrings?" In reply 
he recited the Arabic words from the service barra 'rrauf arrahwi ^), 
indicating the bara as the place where the earrings were hidden. The 
woman asked him other questions all of which he answered by frag- 
ments of the Arabic service, whose sound recalled Achehnese words '). 
This unholy by-play ended in the hatib Peureuba suddenly falling from 
the pulpit and being killed by the iron point of his own preacher's staff. 

According to one view he now became the biirong, parent of all 
subsequent burongs, some of whom were derived from deceased women 
of loose morals, and others from those who fell a prey to burongs 
during pregnancy or at child-birth. Others narrate that his mistress 
was killed by the congregation immediately after her lover's fall, and 

i) See p. 71 above. 

2) (-fp-r^^ ^-'iV' "!^' epithets of God, used in praise of him in the beginning of the 

3) Thus she is said to have asked him: "What is that tree whose leaves are as big as a 
rice-sieve and its roots as big as rice-pounders?" whereupon he gave her the name of the 
tree bira/i by reciting the Arabic formula birahmatika ya arham arrahhnin = "by thy 
mercy, o most Merciful of the merciful." In reply to her question "what are the plants 
which stand in a row?" he recited the words: ^imkhti/af al-aili wan-naliar ("day and night 
succeeding one another") the first of which suggests keutila^ a kind of vegetable . 


that her spirit became the forerunner of the biirongs. The first notion, 
though open to the objection that it makes the feminine biirong spring 
from a man, finds support in the tangkay biirmig (charms against the 
burong) where the latter is often thus addressed "I know who thou 
art; thou art Hatib Peureuba" and "thou hast not taken thy bath of 

In addition to this story of the origin of all the burongs, each of 
the more celebrated of these spirits has a history of its own, though 
there is a general resemblance between the various legends. 

In Lam Bada (XXVI Mukims) may be seen the grave of a famous 
burong woman, named Tuan Siti or Pochut Siti. She was of good line- 
age, but having allowed herself to be seduced and having become 
pregnant was in the end treacherously drowned by her lover while on 
a pleasure trip to which he had invited her. 

Most dreaded of all, however, at the present time is the burong 
Srabi or Seurabi, whose tomb is situated in gampong Tanjong (mukim 
of Pagaraye) close to the capital of Acheh. She is also known as 
burong Tanjong. 

The proper name of the woman who after death was changed into 
this monster, appears to have been Rabiah (abbreviated in Srabi = Si 
Rabi). She is said to have been the daughter of a religious teacher, 
but in spite of the pious lessons and strict discipline of her father she 
was seduced into an intrigue. When she had been some time pregnant 
her lover induced her to fly with him to the West Coast. They dropped 
down the river in a boat, but before they reached the open sea, the 
man slew his paramour and casting her body into the water, pursued 
his journey to the West alone. Her body was found near the gampong 
Kaje'e Jat'oe (just about where the hospital at Kuta Raja now stands), 
and was pulled out of the water by the people of that gampong. 
When they found it was the body of a woman belonging to Tanjong, 
they brought her thither and she was buried there. Meantime the 
unhappy woman had been transformed into a burong, which rested 
not until she had overtaken and slain her murderer. After having thus 
appeased her passion for revenge, she seized a man in the gampong 
of Kayee Jatoe, but on his reminding her that his people had rescued 
the body of Rabiah or Srabi from the waves and made her burial 
possible, she let him go, and at the same time swore never to molest 
a woman of that gampong. All the more violent however were her 


onslaughts on pregnant women and those in childbed in other gampongs. 

Lii<e the Sundancsc kunti, the burong sometimes announces her 
presence by a shrill scream, a sustained nasal iiii^)\ But she is most 
to be feared wlien she creeps upon her victim without any such warning. 
This she does more especially when a pregnant woman heedlessly 
ventures out of doors after sunset, or when her husband or some other 
inmate of the house after having been out for the evening comes in 
directly without taking the proper precautions ^). 

Occasional loss of consciousness and delirium are regarded as un- 
mistakeable symptoms of possession by a burong. As the women from 
their earliest youth hear countless stories about these evil spirits and 
are convinced that possession by them is the greatest danger that 
threatens them during pregnancy or shortly after confinement, it is not 
astonishing that their ravings while delirious appear like utterances from 
the mouth of the burong. 

Like the zars ^) which arc wont to "possess" the women of Mekka, 
the Achehnese burnngs have certain desires which they express to the 
comprehension of expert enquirers through the lips of the victims 
whom they have bereft of their senses. These experts do not confine 
themselves simply to repeating a tangkay or exorcising incantation; 
they must first know what burong it is they have to do with. They 
thus enquire whence they come and what are their intentions and 
wishes. The last question is generally that first answered, and the rest 
may be deduced from the reply. 

Where the delirious patient through the interpretation of the expert 
expresses a desire for murmg-lea.ves (the leaves of the plant known 
as kelor, which are used as a vegetable), for dried buffalo's flesh (palii) 
and salted ducks' eggs {boh ite jru'c), it is then regarded as certain 
that it is the dreaded Burong Tanjong that has to be contended with. 

As long as the woman lies over the fire [madeiieng], that is to say 
for the space of 44 days after childbirth, some anxiety is felt in regard 
to the burong, but most of all during the first 10 days, and especially 
on the 3d, 5th, 7th and lo'l^ days \ During this period care is taken 

1) Thus the making of such a sound is called by the Achehnese meiiTi lagee burong. 

2) See p. 373 above. 

3) See my Mekka, vol. II, pp. 124 et seq.: also M. J. de Goeje and Th. Noldeke in 
the Zeitschrift der Dculschen Morgenliiiid-Gesellschaft., Vol. XLIV pp. 480 and 701. 

4) These are, it will be noted, the very days which arc considered as of importance 
after a marriage or a death. 

38 1 

to avoid all needless mention of the biirong within hearing of the 
patient, while all the precautions mentioned above are taken to guard 
against its approach. 

Should the biiroug have entered into the woma.n {'^ka tamong iurong"), Vows to the 


a man who is acquainted with the proper incantations is called in ; on 
the dangerous days this is done in any case as a measure of prevention. 
Sometimes the mother of the sick woman makes a vow to visit the 
tomb of the evil spirit in case of her daughter's recovery. She promises 
"to go and fulfil her vow at the tomb of her grandmother," (Ja peu- 
Iheucli kaoy ba jeurat ne), thus euphemistically describing the ill- 
omened burong. 

Such a vow is performed in the company of a large party of friends 
after the 44111 day. Goats or fowls are killed as the occasion may require, 
and a feast is given. Flowers ') are also offered at the tomb, together with 
a piece of white cloth to serve as a covering-) for one of the tombstones. 
At the same time a piece of one of the white coverings already sur- 
rounding the tombstone is brought away, and strips of this are worn 
as charms round the neck and wrists of the mother and child, until 
they wear out. 

The circumstance that these spirits which torment women in child- 
birth have definite names, and especially the fact that they have tombs 
which are revered in the same manner as those of departed saints is 
peculiar to Acheh, at least in contradistinction to Java. 

During this first critical period of ten days there must always be a 
lamp burning by the patient's side, and some one must keep watch 
beside her. To facilitate this task the women from the neighbourhood 
come in off and on at night. Where the company is numerous they 
often while away the time by reciting popular stories {Jiikayat). 

When the burong reveals itself these women of course evince much 
sympathy, which they express chiefly by conversing through the medium 
of the patient with the invisible being. 

"Who art thou?" they ask for example. "That shall I not tell." — 
"Wherefore comest thou hither?" — "I am taking a walk." — "What 

1) Boh iungon^, identical with the Javanese ngUmiang. 

2) Sal oil bat'ee. 

3) ya" dom ba' uretteng madeuing as it is called, i. e. "to go and spend the night with 
one who is drj'ing" (intrans.) 


dost thou seek for, wliat dost thou desire?" ■ — "Fishes' heads, murong 
leaves, dried flesh, ducks' eggs ')." 

The answers given by the burong to the Icube who comes to withstand 
her with his incantations (tangkay) are regarded as of greater conse- 
quence. It is thought a very good sign when the patient grows quiet 
after the exorciser has said emphatically to the burong "get thee gone 
to thy home" [jo' woe). Should this be of no avail, the expert then 
employs sundry phrases to drive the burong out of the inner room, 
through the passage, down the steps and out on to the gampong-path 
(jurong); this is called bringing down the burong"^) (peutron burong). 
But woe to the victim if in reply to all his admonitions the spirit 
replies through the lips of the delirious patient: "I will not go down 
unless I bring (the sick one) along with me" [nicung liana kupeutron, 
han kutron). Then all hope is lost. 
The chawat. One of the duties of the midwife is to prepare, on the first or second 
day after the birth, what is known as the chaivat. This word generally 
denotes a fold of cloth twisted round the middle and between the 
legs so as to convey the impression of a short pair of trousers. In the 
sick-chamber, however, the chaivat denotes a long bag in which are 
placed the indispensable "44 herbs" ^), pounded fine and mixed with 
various simples. This is placed in situ and fastened with a band 
at back and front to the ordinary girdle '). This cliaivat is renewed once 
or twice during convalescence, and on each occasion the nurse receives 
a fee of about a dollar. 

The placenta, or "younger brother" [adbc) of the infant, is mixed 
with some salt and ashes from the kitchen, and folded up in a piece 
of cloth. It is then placed behind the cooking place, probably in order 
that it may dry quickly. In Java there are many superstitious notions 
about this adi ari-ari, as it is there called. It is thought for example 
that the placenta returns to its place after the confinement, and is 

i) she gala? — Han kttpeugah. — Pubii'et ketmo'e? — Kuja'-ja'. — Peu'e taja' mita., 
peii'e tameunapsn? — Ulee eungkol^ gul'e on murong^ si'e ialu., boh ili^ jru'e'. As we have 
seen these last-named objects are those desired by Srabl Tanjong. 

2) Where the speaker is in an Achehnese house, which is raised on posts, the expression 
"below" is the equivalent of our "out-of-doors." 

3) A common form of curse against a pregnant woman is thus: ba^ burong peiitrdn heu = 
"may the burong bring you down below." 

4) Awcu'eh peu'et p/oli piu'el. These will be again referred to in connection with Achehnese 
medical art. 

5) Ta/h'e ii'ieng. See p. 30 above. 


thus the same at every birth, and that it is a source of danger to its 
elder brother (the babe) at the time of his birth. None of these ideas 
are current in Acheh. 

Much less weight is attached in Acheh than in Java to the sever- 
ance of the umbilicus '). When the cord is cut, a little gold-dust is 
sprinkled in the navel to prolong the life of the child, and the severed 
portion is wrapped in a piece of cloth and placed above the cooking- 
place, where it remains till it disappears of its own accord ^). No feast 
is given on the occasion of its severance '). 

On the seventh day after the child's birth there takes place the ceremony The peu- 
of the pcnchichab (lit. ^ to give to taste), which is generally accompan- 
ied by the first shaving of the child's head. Like other ceremonies ■*) 
of the kind, it may be postponed for a day or two, but it is oflicially 
understood to take place on the 7* day. The presence of the teungku 
of the gampTmg and some leubes is indispensable at the great kanduri 
or religious feast given on this occasion, not only for the sake of the 
prayers with which the feast must be consecrated, but also because it 
is generally thought to be essential to the sanctity of a feast, that it 
should be partaken of by some indigent persons who are distinguished 
from the mass by their knowledge and practice of religion. 

Where the peuchichab feast is celebrated on a fairly large scale, the 
niale and female relations of the father and mother are invited in any 
case, and generally also a number of people from the gampongs 
of both. 

The guests arrive at about 8 .\. M., and are welcomed without any 
prolix ceremonies. Some of the relatives bring a money present (say 
a dollar each) for the child; the father's mother gives new mats, pillows, 
clothes and a little swinging bed which serves as a cradle [ayon) ^) 
and is supported by a rope covered with cloth. The male guests give 

1) Ka srot pusat is the expression used to denote this occurrence. 

2) The use of the separated portion as a charm or medicament for the child, so common 
in Java, seems to be quite unknown in Acheh. 

3j The Malays cut the navel-cord with a bamboo knife; while being severed it is often 
supported (di-alas) with a strip of silver, which afterwards becomes the property of the 
midwife. ( Translator). 

4) See p. 326 above. 

5) Malay Iniayan. The Malay cradle is of basket-work; cords are attached to the four 
corners and by these it is hung from a beam of the house and swings easily to and fro. 
( Translator). 


biaya peukan (things bought in the market), such as tobacco, fruits, 
sirih and fish. 

Food is served to the assembled guests, but not in so formal a 
manner as at the peujam^c '). An idang of glutinous rice with its 
accessories and some fruits are set aside for the midwife. 

After the feast all the guests depart except the immediate relatives 
and the teungku and his attendants. The bidan (midwife) after shaving 
the child's head, lays it in all its finery on a small mattress [kasT)) 
covered with a number of costly cloths, and then brings it in and 
hands it over in the first place to the teungku. At the same time she 
sets before the latter a tray containing a bowl of dates, another of 
cocoanut milk and the savoury paste known as kleuvibd , in the midst 
of which a chempaka flower stands erect. The teungku takes a small 
piece of date, mixes it with the santan (cocoanut milk) and rubs it on 
the child's lips after invoking the name of Allah. 

Both the teungku and after him the relatives of the infant also "give 

him to taste" a sort of pap (Ach. cheunichah; Mai. and Jav. riija/c) 

made of a compost of raw fruits pounded very fine. It is from this 

compulsory introduction to human customs as to food that the whole 

ceremony is called paichichab. -) 

The "haki- The Mohammedan law recommends an oftering of two sheep or goats 
kah." ^ , & K b 

for a male, and one for a female child, by preference on the seventh 

day after birth, but if this be impossible then at some later date — 

even when the child is quite grown up. This sacrifice is called ^aqlqah, 

and is not only known but actually practised in Acheh under the 

name of hakikah. In Acheh, no less than in other parts of the E. Indian 

Archipelago, the people of Mekka have done their best to foster the 

doctrine that it is an extremely meritorious act to offer this sacrifice 

for the child in the holy city. The Mekka folk thus of course reap 

the profits on the sale of the goats, and at the same time enjoy their 

share of the meat. Many Achchnesc are however aware that the hakikah 

is more properly offered at home. The choice of some later occasion 

for this sacrifice, and not the seventh day after birth is also common 

in Acheh. 

1) See p. 320 above. 

2) This feast is also oliserved by the Malays, in much the same way as here described. 
The child's hair is not shaved, but small pieces snipped oif fro formA. Well-to-do people 
often fasten small diamond-shaped pieces of gold or silver in the child's hair, and these 
are presented to teachers and others of repute at the discretion of the father. {Translator^. 

The giving of the name, for which the seventh day is also recom- 
mended by the law of Islam, generally takes place in Acheh at the 
end of the period of convalescence, and is not attended by much 
ceremony. The teungku is called to the house or the child sent to 
him. He consults a Malay manual which gives the names most suitable 
for a child born on a given day of the week and month throughout 
the year. Before the name is fixed, the child is usually called Si Chut 
or Nya! Chut both meaning "the little one," or else Si Chu'cng ') or 
Si Kheb, both of which words have a somewhat unsavoury significance; 
or, if a boy, it may be called Si Gam (mannikin), or if a girl. Si Inbng 
(little woman). Such names, universal and indistinctive as they are, 
remain in many cases the only ones by which those that bear them 
are known all their life long. Many dispense with the Arabic names 
given by the teungku 's skilled advice, and have in their places names 
borrowed from some object of daily use or mere nicknames indicating 
some bodily characteristic or defect. 

After the lO* day begin the visits of congratulation. Female acquaint- 
ances drop in at odd times and bring some little gift for the mother 
or the child. These presents are called neutne ("things brought"). Those 
intended for the child consist especially of the little sweet banana 
known as pisang seuinatu or the sourish pisang klat, both of which 
may be eaten by sucking infants without causing indigestion. Bananas 
are given to newborn children as early as the seventh day after birth, 
and it is the universal custom in Acheh to habituate the infant as 
much as possible from the very beginning to eat regular food in addition 
to the mother's milk. 

The gifts of the visitors to the mother usually consist of fresh fruits 
such as oranges of various sorts {boh kruct nimiich, boli gi/'i), plates of 
yellow glutinous rice, etc. 

From the second day after its birth the child is twice a day, at 
about 7 A. M. and 5 P. M., bespued [scuiubo) by an old woman with 

:) Chii'iiig pvopeily means the smell of urine. In other parts of the Archipelago, as for 
instance in Java, children's names are very often borrowed from such ideas or from the 
names of the sexual organs. Thus we find in Java toU or koitlolc^ It (contracted from pili) 
which signify the male organ ; Itip or kultip = uncircumcised, for boys, and rtti (from 
iurui) or me'' from iifmi-' ( = pudendum muliebre) for girls. [A'li/tip is a very common name 
among Malays; they do not however seem to employ any of the others mentioned .above. 



a slaver composed of the same ingredients which in Java serve as a 

protection against the evil influences which threaten the infant : sirih, 

turmeric [kiaiyet), sweet-flag [jeuraingec, Jav. dringo), clieuko (Jav. khichur, 

Mai. chektir) and brown onions. Sometimes a chewed pap of the same 

articles is laid on the spot above the child's forehead [nibot-mbnt). After 

the whole body has thus been overspread, the infant is dressed in a sort 

of swadding-cloth [ija teumpee) and over this are thickly wound strips 

of cloth till he is closely packed {geitddng). 

Diseases of The indispositions most dreaded for the child are beuteng and sakct 
children. ^ , 

dro'c. The former is a swelling of the abdomen which is especially 

common in the first two months and is generally fatal. As a measure 

of prevention chewed turmeric [kiinyet) or ashes from the cooking-place 

[abee dapu) are laid on the navel "that no wind may enter in" ') as 

they say. The saket drb'e ^) {sakit diri) appears to derive its name from 

the idea that every child brings into the world in himself [drbc) the 

tendency to this disease; it is supposed to depend entirely on the 

supernatural powers ') whether the malady will be developed or 


A European physician would probably divide into several distinct 
ailments what the Achehnese understand by this single appellation. 
Fever is said to be often the first symptom of the saket drbc, but at 
a later period the hands are clenched and the eyes staring, while the 
patient moans continually. Hinggii or asa foetida roasted and applied 
to the forehead and chin is believed to act as a preventive. Remedies 
are seldom employed for this disease ; the tangkay or incantation is 
alone of avail. It is thought indispensable that a child suftering from 
this ailment should always be laid on its stomach and it is sometimes 
placed in this position on a manure-heap, in the hope that this treat- 
ment may be of some service *) ! 

The sakit drb'e is especially feared during the first year of the child's 
existence, and during this period children are kept carefully indoors 

1) j5t'' lamong angcn. 

2) This disease is also called peunyakct mauya^ — the suckling's sickness. 

3) Such diseases are called pcuiiyakct liimanyang = "diseases from above," which name 
refers to the supernatural powers supposed to inhabit the air. .Another disease also so 
classified is peunyaket gajahan^ the symptoms of which are a feeling of oppression just 
above the navel followed by loss of consciousness. 

4) Saepe quoque mater, alios modos frustra experta, indicem in pudendum suum intrusum 
osculo pueri adfert. 


after sunset, as the "powers of the air" are supposed to threaten them 
outside. There are however some diseases which are apt to appear 
later in the child's life, and these are regarded as arising from the 
sakct drh'c having been imperfectly exorcised. Such for instance are 
epileptic attacks, for which the mother resorts to the same peculiar 
remedy which she employs in the case of the saket drb'e ; another is a 
sort of derangement called pungo buy (pigs' madness), in which the 
patient, besides exhibiting certain symptoms which recall the movements 
of wild pigs, shows a strong inclination to jump into the water '). 

The spirits whose malign influence causes the development of the 
saket drb'e are known as liantu burn. They inhabit the woods, so that 
the class of persons best acquainted with the proper incantations for 
neutralizing their influence are the professional deerhunters [pawang 
nisa), and those who bring honey-combs from the forests {nreii'eng pet 
i/noe). These hold all wood-craft in fee, and their help is invoked both 
on the appearance of symptoms of the peiinyaket drb'e and for sundry 
other diseases as well. 

Another disease of children is thought to be caused by loss of the 
seujiiangat or of one or more of the seumangat. The popular psy- 
chology is not entirely agreed on the question as to whether man has 
one or seven of these souls. 

When a child is badly frightened at some unwonted occurrence, such 
as a fire, and subsequently continues nervous, it is regarded as certain 
that the seumangat has been driven out, and that something must be 
done to call it back again. 

This task is undertaken by a skilled old woman, who receives as 
her fee some husked and unhusked rice (breu'eh pade), two eggs, a piece 
of white cloth and some keumeu. This last is unhusked rice opened 
by roasting, a form of food which we shall have occasion to refer to 
later in our description of small-pox. She burns incense and recites 
paiitons by the hour, varying these occasionally by an appeal to the 
seumangat to return. Finally she enquires of the assembled women: 

l) Mai. gi/a Imbi ; but the disease so called by the Malays is not confined to children, 
and the name is taken rather from the grunting sound emitted by the patient than from 
movements recalling those of wild pigs. Other diseases of children so classified by the 
Malays are s^ra-waii, a soreness of the tongue, the chief cure for which is Chinese ink 
rubbed on the part affected and sawan^ a form of fever accompanied by giddiness and 
delirium. (^Translator). 


"Have you not seen those sparks? They arc the scitiiiaiigats which have 
now returned." And fortunately for the credit of the expert, there are 
always one or two women wlio are kind enough to answer in the 

Grown-up people speak of the loss of their seumangat only figura- 
tively, to express great astonishment or confusion. The common ex- 
pression krit st'uviaiigat ! used to one who has borne himself too 
politely or submissively towards the speaker, seems to contain the 
rudiment of a notion of this soul with its occasional departures from 
the body as a bird which may be summoned back by the word krit, 
which is used to call fowls home. 
End of the After the 44 momentous days ') have passed, there takes place what 

oven period. . 

IS known as the "removal of the oven" [boih dapu); this however as 
a rule really occurs on the 41st or 43<l day, as a day of even number 
is considered less lucky. A kandiiri is given to a number of teungkits 
and leiihcs, at which feast there must be plenty of apam or cakes in 
addition to the rice and its accessories. One of the guests consecrates 
the fast by the funeral prayer, in which the mercy of Allah is invoked 
for all the dead and for the living as well. A number of women are 
invited to attend the ceremony, but these take no share in the kanduri. 

Those whose means allow of it give at the same time a Rapa'i, the 
religious play so popular among the Achehnese. 

The midwife removes the dapu or oven and pushes it beneath the 
house, where the platform on which the mother has rested during her 
confinement is also deposited. The woman is then given a bath, which 
is called the "bath of 44" (i. e. 44 days). If we may believe the old 
legends, women of rank in earlier times had this bath served from 
44 jars -). The water for the bath is mixed with the juice of sour 
oranges {boh kru'ct). 

In ordinary cases the midwife can then take her departure. She 
must first, however, "cool" (pciisijuc) the house. For this purpose she 
employs the means with which we have already ^) become familiar, 

1) The Mohammedan l;uv sets down the average period of purification after childbirth 
at 40 days, and this is the time observed in Java. As we have seen however the period of 
forty days customarily observed in other countries is often replaced by forty-four, which 
latter number plays a prominent part iu Achehnese superstition. 

2) Compare the bath of the woman in Java in the 7th month of her pregn.ancy, the 
water for which is if possible taken from seven wells. 

3) See pp. 43—44 above. 


i. e. flour and water which is sprinkled on the places to be "cooled" 
with an improvised besom formed of twigs or whole plants of sisijiie 
and Diane -manbc and stalks of naleumg sambo '). With this, after 
solemnly invoking Allah's name, she besprinkles all the i6 or 24 posts 
which support the Achchnese house, beginning with those called raja 
and piitrb'e, to which superstition assigns a special importance. 

At her departure the midwife receives, in addition to the sum 
estimated by her as the equivalent of the various drugs etc. which 
she has prepared for the mother and infant, a douceur in money for her 
trouble {peunayali) and a complete outfit of garments ^) [scunalcn). In 
Java it is customary for the woman or her husband to ask forgiveness 
of the midwife for all the trouble they have put her to, but in Acheh 
this lakec vieiiah ^), as it is called, is made by the woman's mother. 

Throughout the whole of the Indian Archipelago it is regarded as The peutron. 
a momentous epoch in the life of the child when he first comes into 
contact with his mother earth. All who have not entirely abjured the 
old ideas, are careful not to let the child lie or sit upon the ground 
until such contact has been duly prepared for by a number of cere- 
monies, of which a religious feast forms an important part ; for the 
earth, which contains so many blessings, holds within it also much 
that is evil. 

Acheh is no exception to this rule. The ceremony which in Java is 
called nurunkcun (Sund.) or niudiin Innah (Jav.), is in Acheh known as 
peutron i. e. "causing to descend," referring to the child's being brought 
out of the house ■*). This may take place a couple of months after its 
birth, but preference is given to a month of uneven number, as for 
example the 3<l, 5th or /''i month of the child's age. Up to this time 
the child must on no account be brought outside the house. 

in Acheh, however, not nearly so much is made of this or other 
important epochs in life, as in ceremony-loving Java. In the former 
country such events are chiefly marked by the giving of a big kanduri 
in the house, a goat or buffalo being slaughtered and the occasion 

1) See pp. 305 — 306 above. 

2) A pair of trousers {si/uciie or /m-iie), an undergarment (i/t! p'"gg(">S)i »"<! « sort of 
shawl {ija saiva\ Mai. and Jav. slent/aiif;). 

3) The invariable reply to this, as to all other pr.iyers for forgiveness, is /;<;«« /i'«t = "it 
is nothing." 

4) Owing to the fact that the Achehnese houses stand high off the ground, the word 
for entering the house is e' = to climb up, and for going out of doors, Iron = to descend. 


sanctified by the pras-cr of tlic olt'icial h-iingkii. This last indeed holds 
good of all feast of any importance; no leube and few uiamas of con- 
sideration would venture to appear at such a feast and honour it with 
their prayer except on the special invitation of the teungku of the 

This feast is also frequently embellished by a Rapa'i representation, 
when the givers are persons of means. 

When the kanduri is over, some women, including the midwife, who 
is always invited on such occasions, fetch the child from the house 
and take it to the tomb of a saint [^Iculm krauuit). Such tombs arc to 
be found in the neighbourhood of almost every gampong. They take 
with them as an oftering for the dead some flowers and incense, and 
a piece of white cloth to renew or add to the coverings of the tomb- 
stones {salob batcc). At the grave the child's head is solemnly washed 
[srah iilcr) either by the keeper of the tomb or by the women them- 
selves, and thus the ceremony is brought to a close. 
Vows. All such events in the family life form the occasions for vows. These 

are sometimes made without any special motive, but particularly in 
cases of sickness or misfortune, in the hope of furthering the well-being 
of him in whose behalf the feast is given. The Rapa'i representations 
just mentioned may form the subject of such a kaoy or vow. It is 
also a common custom for the father or. mother to vow at the sickbed 
of a child which has not yet been "brought down," that in the event 
of its recovery they will not merely bring it to the nearest holy tomb 
to inaugurate its first contact with the earth, but will take it on a 
pilgrimage to the resting-place of one of the great saints of Acheh, 
such as the renowned Teungku di Kuala Abdora'oh, the saint of 
Singkel, or the holy Sayyid Teungku Anjong buried in Gampong Java. 
In such cases the child is escorted to the sacred spot by a great pro- 
cession of men and women, and cattle are slaughtered and a feast 
given at the tomb. 

Where the vow includes the expression of an intention to head the 
procession with geundrang, the two drums or gcundrang and the flute 
[srune) are marched in front. 

It sometimes happens that when the time of the pcutron arrives, the 
means of fulfilling the vow are momentarily lacking. Then the '^descent" of 
the child takes place simply in the manner described above, and the fulfil- 
ment of the vow remains a debt to be discharged as soon as possible. 



Tlio non-fulfilment of a vow is regarded as apt to be attended by 
disastrous consequences. For instance if a child suffers from persistent 
ulcers on its head, ears or eyes, or is slow in recovering from an illness, 
or suffers for an unusual length of time from the effects of circumcision, 
people say: "That child has a biinaran" ^), which means either that a 
vow has been made in its behalf and remains unfulfilled, or that one 
of those feasts or ceremonies which are generally the subjects of vows 
should be held for its benefit. 

In this last case recourse is had to certain mysterious tests in order 
to ascertain what should be done. For instance the child is watched 
in its sleep and asked what it is that it really needs. The names 
of the usual ceremonies etc. are slowly repeated one after another, 
and it is assumed that the one desired is that at the mention of which 
the sleeping infant seems most at rest. Sometimes the same method is 
resorted to in order to ascertain the nature of an unfulfilled vow. It 
may happen, for instance, that the child's mother has died, and the 
wise man or woman who is consulted in regard to the illness of the 
babe may say that there seems to be biiiiaran in the case, and that 
probably the mother had made a vow but had not communicated it to 
others. Under such circumstances nothing seems left but to try and 
discover the terms of the vow by the means of divination described above. 
The most usual kinds of bi))iaran are the procession to the tomb 
with geundrangs which we have so often referred to, or the presentation 
to the child of a peculiar garment of many colours ') {ija planggi) which 
now-a-days at least is not worn except in case of vows or biinaran *). 

We shall here enumerate some of the vows most commonly made 
in Acheh, especially by parents in behalf of their sick children. Two 
of them we have already noticed, the vows to celebrate with geinuh-ang 
music or with a Rapdl performance the first occurrence of importance 

1) A>icii' iiyan kadang iia himaran. 

2) The idea is that the thing in question is desired by a jcn {Jiii/:) or other supernatural 
being which afflicts the child with sickness. 

3) There is a specimen in the museum of the Batavian Society. 

4) When a woman's hair falls out this also is thought to be /'/OTarflw/ she is then supplied 
with a golden hair ornament, called ti/ie cluumara^ consisting of an oblong gold plate on 
the underside of which is fixed a chain to which is attached a hook to fasten it to the 
hair. The woman places it in her back hair, but conceals the golden plate, as it is not 
the custom for grown up women to wear such ornaments. The idea is that the demands 
of the spirit which caused disease in the hair, or of the hair itself, are thus satisfied. 


in the life of the child. The things vowed have always some connection 
with religion, or else are such as have been shown by tradition or 
personal experience to act as charms against evil spirits. Where a parent 
in desperation promises to perform an act which has never before formed 
the subject of a vow, and the wished-for recovery supervenes, the means 
that has proved so successful is resorted to by many others '), and one 
more is added to the list of vows. 

In addition to the Rapa'i, the following are some of the vows which 
are regarded as of a religious nature. 

"If you recover, I will take you to seven mosques." The fulfilment 
consists in taking the child round to seven different mosques and washing 
its head with water from the reservoir {kidain) of each. 

"I shall have the whole Quran recited". A couple of dollars are given 
to a leube, who then performs this pious task. 

"I shall take you to 44 saints." This visiting of holy tombs is again 
coupled witli the washing of the head (iTrt/; «/^i') of the convalescent child. 

"I shall give a kanduri of seven head of buffalo." These are then 
purchased at the great slaughter preceding the commencement of the 
fasting month [ma meugang) and given as a present to the teungku 
of the village. 

"I shall bathe you with water that has washed the feet of His 
Majesty." To fulfil this vow, it was customary to beg of the Sultan's 
servants 'a little of the water that had washed the feet of their royal 
master', and the latter would generally oblige the suppliants by putting 
his hand into a jar of water presented for the purpose. 

Either in fulfilment of a vow, or simply to avert evil influences, a 
child's head is often washed near the pulpit of a great mosque, or 
else some flowers and perhaps a little copper money are laid on the 
pulpit at the Friday service. Sometimes the child is given to drink 
some water, in which a congregation of not less than 44 persons all 
have dipped their hands at the commencement of the Friday service. 

Besides the geundrang music, the following are some of the purely 
superstitious vows classified as piija or efficacious against evil spirits: 

"If you recover, I shall go and beg in seven shops')." Thereupon 

1) Of such a thing it is said ka geupuja i. e. it has been successfully used as a charm 
against the jens. 

2) Such a vow can only be fulfilled by well-to-do people; most shops would close their 
doors against poor folk who come to beg for such a purpose. 


they beg for some trifle or other in the ^f/u/ts (shops) where tliey 
deal, saying that they do so in fulfihnent of a vow, and generally 
receive a piece of gold thread, which is afterwards sewn on the head cloth 
[tangkulo') if the child is a boy, and on the kerchief (ya sazva^) if it is a girl. 

"I shall slaughter a sheep in the midst of the courtyard." When 
the fulfilment of this vow is accompanied by an invitation to reciters 
of the Quran, it assumes a religious character '). 

The Achehnese mother rocks [ayon) her child to sleep in a kind of 
swing, consisting of a rope of which the two extremities are fastened 
to the ceiling while it is kept apart below by a bar of wood placed 
horizontally. Under this bar is fastened a handkerchief or cloth so 
disposed that the child can lie in it with comfort. The mother sings 
the child to sleep [pculalc) with native lullabies ^). 

The child's age is described in Acheh as in the adjacent countries 
by allusion to the movements it is capable of making. Thus they 
distinguish between the stages of "lying on the back" [iiieiilintetieng) 
"turning on the side" [bale), "lying on face and hands" [diigbm), « sitting" 
[dnc], "crawling" {ineutieny), "standing" {dbug), "walking" (ja) and 
"running" (pliicng) '). 

To practise the child in its movements a rounded stick is planted 
in the ground ; to this is attached a section of bamboo, so placed that 
its hollow end covers the point of the stick, round which it easily 
revolves. To the bamboo is fastened a wooden handle, the end of 
which is given to the child to hold, so that thus supported he can 
toddle round the stick. This instrument is called zvhig *). 

1) The Achehnese formulas for the above mentioned vows are as under. The condition 
meting ka puleh kah = 'if you recover' is to be understood as precedin;; each one. 

Kuja' ml kah tujoh boh mcusetigii. 

Kujti'i beu'et siseun tamat. 

ICiija' mi kah bcC peit'it ploh pctt'et cilia, 

Kukanditri tujoh boh ulc'e keiibeu'e. 

Kupumaiio'e kah ngon i'i srah gaki poteu. 

Kuja' gcumadi tujoh boh keude. 

Kusi'e kameng saboh diteunghh leu'en. 

2) The singing of these songs (in Java Icla-Ula,, among the Sundanese lu-ng-iicngkung) is 
called in .\chehnese meudodi,, from the sound dodi (Mai. dii-duy) which constantly occurs 
in a more or less modified form in the cradle-songs. 

3) The question asked of parents by those who seek to know a child's age is: "what can 
your child do (^pcu'i thee anetC gatay\ to which the reply is : ka thee due\ meuacuy etc. 

4) This is also in general use in Java: Sund. kurilingan,, Jav. leredan or gritaii. 

[Also used by the Malays of the Peninsula, and called by them kcpala payotig — "um- 
brella-top." ( Translator')^ 


In the case of girls circumcision follows very soon after the pcutron. Circumcision 
It is performed with great secrecy. Iwen the father does not know 
when his daughter is circumcised. The haste with which this operation 
is got over is attributed to the fear lest the girl so soon as she can 
speak should mention it in her childish innocence. Not a semblance 
of festivity attends the ceremony ; some yellow glutinous rice is simply 
brought to the teungku and he repeats the fatihah over it a single 
time. In presenting it to him the women say: "we have here a small 
offering in honour of the Prophet" {net liajat bachut ken Pangulee), 
without further elucidation. The teungkus receive such little gifts almost 
daily with a request for a fatihah or a prayer. The secrecy observed 
in this matter is much greater in Acheh than in Java. In the latter 
country there is not indeed a feast given to celebrate the circumcision 
of girls, but there is on the other hand no concealment where they 
are circumcised at the feasts given to celebrate the performance of the 
same rate upon their brothers or cousins. The midwi